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Random Acts of Revolution |

Random Acts of Revolution |.

oprevolution

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery.  This means that if you are a slave today, it’s either illegal, or you have voluntarily accepted your servitude.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

You have a Constitutionally protected right to be free. If you aren’t free, then revolution is your duty.

Many people believe that revolution requires that they lead a march, stand in front of a crowd with a bullhorn, or form a militia. They feel like it’s a job for the Alex Joneses, the Adam Kokeshes,  the James Wesley Rawleses, and the Bradley Mannings of the world.

They’re wrong.  You don’t have to be a person with thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook .  You don’t have to be a person with a military leadership position on  your resume. You need not get yourself arrested on the steps of the White House, got to prison forever for telling the truth about your unit in the army, or stare down a bunch of scary-looking thugs in jack boots.

But you do have to do something.

You can’t just sit there and complain unless you are really just another armchair Rambo.

The way you lead your life every single day can be an act of revolution.  By refusing to concede your natural rights, quietly and resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution. Walking the walk doesn’t always require civil disobedience or militia membership (although those actions definitely have their places).  It requires your consistent determination not to be infringed upon.

It doesn’t matter if you are a soccer mom from the suburbs, a college student in a dormitory, a church-going dad and husband, or a person who has found themselves homeless through the ongoing economic crisis – by living resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution.

Don’t get me wrong – we need the Alexes, the Adams, the militias, the Bradleys, and the JWRs.  We need the people who stand in protest.  We need those who expose wrongdoing.  We need the organizers, the shouters, the big personalities, the quiet strong types, and the leaders. But these are not the only ways to revolt.  If every single person was off organizing their own rally, there’d be no one left to march in it.

What it is imperative upon us to do is to find our compass and follow it.  We must make ourselves immune to control by not needing what “they” hand out.  We have to be armored against the way everyone else lives and choose our own paths.  We must stubbornly refuse to participate in the hoop-jumping that is everyday life in North America.  By all of us who believe in liberty doing this, we form an army of stubborn non-participants in the status quo.

Here’s an example. It’s a small thing, a battle that today only affected my daughter and me.  My daughter is not vaccinated.  She attends a public school where the kids must be vaccinated, or hoops must be jumped through. I filled out the initial forms stating that I had an objection of conscience to vaccines.  I was contacted by a representative of the school system who suggested that I sign instead the form that stated a religious objection, because that was “easier”.  I refused, because my objection is NOT one of religion, and I felt like that was a cop-out. I knew that I was within my rights to have an objection of conscience, and I felt that it was important to make a point that might make it easier for the next parent.  I was then told that I’d have to pay $25 and get a statement notarized to allow her exemption on my basis.  I said I’d be happy to get a statement notarized, but not at my expense. I pointed out that nowhere does our local law state that I should have to pay any money for my child to NOT do something.  Lo and behold, after 5 months of politely going back and forth,  being escalated through numerous different superiors of superiors in the school board and public health system, my daughter is still unvaccinated, I have not spent $25, and she was not suspended from school.  The point I’m making is not about vaccines, but about not stepping back from your rights, for your convenience or for the convenience of others. This requires that you read the relevant laws and understand them.  It requires a certain degree of persistence and a willingness to be a pain in the butt.

There are valid reasons for revolution.

One of the benchmarks of tyranny is the dizzying arrays of laws on the books, with more and more added every single day.  It is humanly impossible not to break multiple laws every single day.  Regulations are revenue builders and/or control mechanisms. If the “authorities” can ALWAYS find a law that you’ve broken, then they can ALWAYS give a “reason” for punishing you.  Punishment might include incarceration, hefty fines, or the removal of some privilege (like taking away your driver’s license or not allowing your child to go to school).

If the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

~ James Madison, Federalist Papers 62

The police state is growing at a dizzying rate, and often the news makes it look like we live in Nazi Germany. It is now or never.  Like cockroaches, “they” – the thugs in jackboots and their masters – multiply in the dark, and will soon overtake us if we don’t put a stop to it right now.  They want to take our guns because that would make our resistance more difficult.  They keep buying up ammo and now have more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America multiple times. The NDAA means that any person can be indefinitely detained. There has been a sustained attack on the Bill of Rights and one by one our rights are being submerged beneath the desires of those who would demand our submission.

How can you be an everyday revolutionary?

The most revolutionary act is to be self-sufficient and in need of nothing that the government can provide for you in exchange for some small liberty.  When there is nothing that you require enough to submit, then bullying you becomes much more difficult.

This list of suggestions is by no means comprehensive.  Please, add your own random acts of resistance in the comments below.

  • Question absolutely everything you hear on the news.  Always be a skeptic. All major media goes back to just a few conglomerates.  The “news” is now all a propaganda ploy to help the rich get richer and the powerful remain in power.  The media can make or break a candidate with unholy zeal in less than a week.  These people and others like them are the ones that decide what “we the people” get to see.  If they feel like a candidate or a news item might upset the status quo, they black it out by refusing to cover it.
  • Call out the media.  Let everyone know that the mainstream media is the enemy of the people.  When you see coverage that is clearly biased, take a moment to call out the media about it.  Take the time to comment on mainstream media websites and point out the unbalanced coverage.  If you use social media, share this information and post on the media outlet’s social media pages as well.
  • Get out of the banking system. By opting to “unbank” or “underbank” there is a limit to what can be easily stolen from you.  When you have physical control of your financial assets, you are not at as high a risk of losing those assets, and therefore, less likely to be dependent on “the system.”
  • Turn your savings into precious metals or tangible assets.  On the same note as unbanking, you definitely don’t want to rely on a 401K or savings account to provide for you in your old age. Ask the people of Cyprus how well that worked out for them.  Diversify with assets you can touch.  Purchase tangible goods like land, food, ammo, and seeds. Once you are well supplied, move on to precious metals to preserve your wealth.
  • Educate others.  At the (very high) risk of people thinking you’re crazy, it’s important to let people know WHY you do what you do. If you are an anti-Monsanto activist, teach others about the dangers of GMOs.  If you object to a municipal policy, speak at a town meeting or send a letter to the editor of your local paper.  By ranting incoherently or by keeping your mouth shut, you influence no one. By providing provable facts, you can open minds and awaken others to tyranny.
  • Get others involved in the fight.  For example, if you are fighting with the city council that wants to rip out the vegetables growing in your front yard, let  your friends and neighbors know, post a notice at the grocery store, and write a letter to the editor.  When injustice occurs, use the power of social media to spread awareness. Often a public outcry is what is necessary to get the “authorities” to back down.  Look at the case of Brandon Raub, the veteran who was kidnapped and taken to a mental hospital for things he posted on Facebook. Raub was not charged, but he was detained in the psych ward involuntarily. His friends and family immediately mobilized and spread the videos of his arrest all over the internet.  It snowballed and alternative media picked it up – soon Raub was released, and all because of a grass roots and social media campaign to bring the injustice to light.
  • Grow your own food.  Every single seed that you plant is a revolutionary act.  Every bit of food that you don’t have to purchase from the grocery store is a battle cry for your personal independence.  When you educate yourself (and others) about  Big Food, Big Agri, and the food safety sell-outs at the FDA, you will clearly see that we are alone in our fight for healthy, nutritious foods.  Refuse to tolerate these attacks on our health and our lifestyles. Refuse to be held subject to Agenda 21′s version of “sustainability”.
  • Take control of your health.  It is imperative that you not blindly trust in the medical establishment.  Many members of this establishment are merely prostitutes for their pimp, Big Pharma.  Millions ofchildren are given powerful psychotropic drugs to help them fit into the neat little classroom boxes, and the numbers are growing every day.  Americans spent 34.2 BILLION dollars on psychiatric drugs in 2010. (Source) Big Pharma is an enormously profitable industry that only pays off if they can convince you that you’re sick.  Learn about the toxic injections and medications, weight the risks and benefits, and always look for second and third opinions before making a medical decision.  Maintain your health by avoiding toxins, exercising, and ditching your bad habits to reduce the number of doctor’s visits that are necessary.
  • Refuse to comply.  If you know your natural rights, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and its Amendments, then it makes it much harder for “authorities” to bully you.  You don’t have to let them search your home without a warrant, you don’t have to answer questions, and you don’t have to comply with laws that are in conflict with the Constitution.
  • Learn.  Every day, spend time learning. This shouldn’t stop once our formal education ends. Fill your mind with history, with current events, with constitutional law, and information about the natural world.  Learn about health, study economics, research things that interest you, and unravel the complicated conspiracies that are afoot.  To pursue unbiased knowledge is to free your mind from the prison of propaganda and indoctrination.
  • Don’t consume chemicals that cause you to be dumbed down.  Avoid chemical-laden food with brain-killing neurotoxins like MSG and aspartame.  Don’t drink fluoridated water.
  • Embrace your right to bear arms.  Be responsible for your own safety and security.
  • Don’t be in debt.  No one can be free if they are in debt. If you are in debt, you are forced to work in whatever conditions are present, for whatever amount is offered, complying with whatever criteria is necessary to keep your job.  in order to either pay your debt or face penalties. As well, the high interest rates that you pay only serve to make the bankers more wealthy.  Instead of borrowing, save until you can afford something or realize that if you could actually afford it, you wouldn’t need to borrow money to have it.
  • Be prepared for disaster.  Have enough food, water, and supplies to take care of your family in the event of a natural disaster. Don’t expect FEMA to take care of you.
  • Be involved in your children’s education.  For some, this means homeschooling or unschooling, and for others this means being on top of what they are learning in a formal school setting. Join the PTA and actively volunteer if your child goes to school.  Be an advocate for your child and insist that the teachers teach. If your child goes to school, supplement this at home with discourse about current events and outings that help them learn about the world around them.
  • Be the squeaky wheel. If you see something wrong, don’t just ignore it. Say something about it, and keep saying something until it changes.  Whether this is some process that infringes on your privacy, a job requirement that impedes your health, or another injustice, pursue it relentlessly. Ask questions publically, write letters, and use social media to bring pressure to encourage a change.
  • Reduce your consumer spending.  Spending less helps to starve the beast by reducing the sales taxes you pay and withdrawing your financial support to big conglomerates. If we vote with our dollars, eventually there will, of a necessity, be a paradigm shift that returns us to simpler days, when families that were willing to work hard could make a living without selling their souls to the corporate monoliths. A low-consumption lifestyle reduces your financial dependency, which allows for more freedom.
  • Ditch popular culture.  If reality TV isn’t a tool for dumbing people down, I don’t know what it is.  My daughter recently begged to watch an episode of a popular reality TV show that “everyone” was watching.  She managed about 15 minutes of it and then said, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”  She decided to read a book instead.  Popular entertainment is a media tool used to change our perspectives about our personal values, and to tell us how to think and feel about issues.
  • Buy locally.  Support local small businesses to help others who are fighting for independence from the system.  You might pay a little bit more than you would at your big box store, but the only people benefiting from your purchases made at the corporate stores are those with the 7 figure annual bonuses.
  • Develop multiple streams of income.  Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  Figure out several ways to bring in income.  Not only does this free you from being a wage slave, but it allows you to hire friends or family members.  You are less entangled in the system and not subject to corporate whims.  If one business fails, or becomes subject to regulations that make it no longer worthwhile, you are not forced to comply just to keep a roof over your head.
  • Say thanks, but no thanks.  There is no such thing as a benevolent hand out.  Nearly anything offered for free (particularly by a government entity) has strings attached.  Maybe there is a handy-dandy registration form that you need to fill out. You might be influenced to vote a certain way just to keep the freebies coming. You might have to pee in a cup every two weeks. Perhaps one day you’ll need to have a microchip embedded in your hand.  Either way, by accepting handouts from those in “authority”, you become beholden to them or you need them, and someone who is free is neither beholden nor needy.
  • Don’t take the easy road.  The PTB like to seduce people with simplicity.  ”If you just sign this paper, it will be much easier,” they say.  ”This chip is for your convenience,” they tell you.  ”By giving up this, it lets us take care of you and you will be much safer.”  The easy road only gets you to Slave Street a whole lot faster.  Take the difficult road and be responsible for yourself.  Don’t take shortcuts that compromise your beliefs. Go to court to fight a ticket, read the laws and defend yourself, and know that anything you give up, you will never get back.

According to the Declaration of Independence,  ”Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

That means that you don’t have to accept the unjust laws. That means you don’t have to quietly take it, muttering under your breath that it isn’t right, but not daring to raise your voice.  That means that “they” are only in control of you if you allow it.

There are nearly 316 million people in the United States. (source)

Only 3% of the population fought in the Revolutionary War, and 10% actively supported them.

If 9,480,000 people quietly and peacefully revolted by withdrawing their consent to be governed by tyrants we could not be silenced.

If 31,600,000 people supported those revolting, we could not be stopped.

The government might  be watching us, but we can watch them right back.  Make the way you live your life a revolutionary act.

What random act of revolution did you commit today?  Please share it in the comments section below.

This essay was originally published on June 1, 2013. The principles outlined here are worth a reminder. Live your life every day as a quiet act of revolution against those who seek to enslave you.

About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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Facebook accused of mining private messages – Americas – Al Jazeera English

Facebook accused of mining private messages – Americas – Al Jazeera English.

Facebook has said the lawsuit’s claims ‘have no merit’, and that it will defend itself ‘vigorously’ [EPA]
Facebook is facing a class-action lawsuit in the US which alleges the company mines data from private messages without users’ knowledge or consent, and shares the information with advertisers.

The lawsuit by two US users accuses Facebook of violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy laws by allegedly scanning private messages for links to third-party websites, which it then shares with “advertisers, marketers and other data aggregators”.

The complaint was filed by Matthew Campbell of Arkansas and Michael Hurley of Oregon on December 30 in the District Court for Northern California on behalf of all Facebook members in the US that have used the site to send or receive private messages that include a URL link.

The lawsuit accused Facebook of using the information for “data mining and user profiling”, and said that Facebook earned $2.7bn from targeted advertising sales in 2011.

“Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is ‘private’ creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook, because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored,” the lawsuit said.

Facebook has denied the plaintiffs’ claims, saying in a statement on Friday: “The allegations in this lawsuit have no merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously”.

The case is similar to another lawsuit accusing Google of violating user privacy by scanning the contents of Gmail messages.

Facebook has faced a slew of complaints and court actions on privacy-related issues. Last year, it settled a class action lawsuit over its usage of user names and images in so-called “sponsored stories”.

Marc Faber’s 2014 Predictions | Zero Hedge

Marc Faber’s 2014 Predictions | Zero Hedge.

Marc Faber has 3 very contrarian predictions for 2014 that we are sure will have the yammering yay-bobs screaming. While “everyone thinks stocks can continue to rise,” Faber sees “the US market as expensive,” and will return very little over the next few years. Furthermore, he adds, while “some stocks are not terribly expensive; but just like in the year 2000, [social media] stocks are grossly over-valued,” and a short basket in the most egregious will return at least 30% next year. Lastly, Faber exclaims, “given all the money printing that is going on globally… physical gold is a good insurance.”

Click image for interview (no embed)

In an interview with Talking Numbers’ Brian Sullivan, Faber offers what he thinks is next for the world in 2014:

1. The market will decline from current levels

Faber says: “My sense is that at the present time, the US market is relatively expensive compared to foreign markets, especially to European markets and to emerging markets. On a cyclically-adjusted P/E [price-to-earnings] basis, it is actually going to return very little over the next seven to 10 years.

2. Best shorts for 2014: Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, Netflix, and Veeva Systems

Faber says: “If you look at the entire market, some stocks are not terribly expensive and some stocks are very expensive. It’s like in year 2000, not every stock was overpriced. At that time, the NASDAQ was grossly overvalued but, say, resource shares and so-called ‘old economy’ companies were relatively inexpensive or absolutely cheap. In the present instance, I think that stocks like Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, Netflix, [and] Veeva Systems are grossly overvalued and that the basket of shorts in these stocks will return you at least 30% next year.”

3. Best longs for 2014: Gold, gold shares, and Vietnamese stocks

Faber says: “Given all the money printing that is going on globally – and not just in the US – and given that the total credit as a percent of the advanced economies is now 30% higher than in 2007 before the crisis hit, I think that gold is a good insurance.”

“I’d rather buy something that is reasonably priced. And, I think gold shares are very inexpensive. So a basket of gold shares I think next year could easily appreciate 30%.”

“I think the Vietnamese stock market, which this year was up 22% [and] which is not bad for an emerging market, will continue to go up.”

 

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… Like Being Completely Out Of Touch With Reality | Zero Hedge

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… Like Being Completely Out Of Touch With Reality | Zero Hedge.

On January 29, 1845, the New York Evening Mirror published a poem that would go on to be one of the most celebrated narrative poems ever penned. It depicted a tragic romantic’s desperate descent into madness over the loss of his love; and it made its author, Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most feted poets of his time.

The poem was entitled “The Raven,” and its star was an ominous black bird that visits an unnamed narrator who is lamenting the loss of his true love

So, with the vision firmly planted in your mind’s eye of a man completely out of touch with reality, seeking wisdom from a mysterious talking bird — knowing that there is only one response, no matter the question — Dear Reader, allow me to present to you a chart. It is one I have used before, but its importance is enormous, and it will form the foundation of this week’s discussion (alongside a few others that break it down into its constituent parts).

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you (drumroll please) total outstanding credit versus GDP in the United States from 1929 to 2012:

This one chart shows exactly WHY we are where we are, folks.

From the moment Richard Nixon toppled the US dollar from its golden foundation and ushered in the era of pure fiat money (oxymoron though that may be) on August 15, 1971, there has been a ubiquitous and dangerous synonym for “growth”: credit.

The world embarked upon a multi-decade credit-fueled binge and claimed the results as growth.

Fanciful.

Floated ever higher on a cushion of credit that has expanded exponentially, as you can see. (The expansion of true growth would have been largely linear — though one can only speculate as to the trajectory of that GDP line had so much credit NOT been extended.) The world has congratulated itself on its “outperformance,” when the truth is that bills have been run up relentlessly, with only the occasional hiccup along the way (each of which has manifested itself as a violent reaction to the over-extension of cheap money).

Folks, rates WILL have to go up again. They cannot stay at zero forever. We all know that. When they DO, because of all the additional debt that has been ladled atop the existing pile, the whole thing will come tumbling down.

All of it.

There is simply no way out, I am afraid. But that is clearly a problem for another day. Right now, everything is fine, so we can all go on pretending it will continue that way.

Evermore.

So now, if you’ll indulge me in a little poetic license (not to mention there being not one but four mysterious strangers in my offering), I give you, “The Maven” (abridged version):

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of financial lore
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door 
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — for the world had sought to borrow
From both friend and foe and neighbour — borrow, borrow, borrow more
For the cheap and easy money which the bankers forth did pour
Shall be paid back nevermore.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered words, “Some More?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “Some More”
Merely this and nothing more.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped four stately Mavens from the Central Banks of yore;
Not the least obeisance made they; not a minute stopped or stayed they;
But, with air of lord or lady, stood inside my chamber door —
Standing by a mug from Dallas just inside my chamber door —
Stood, and stared, and nothing more.

Then these tired-looking men beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance they wore,
“Though thy faces look unshaven, thou,” I said, “art sure enslaven’d,
Ghastly grim and ancient Mavens wandering from the Nightly shore —
To free money ever after lest the markets pitch and yaw.”
Quoth the Mavens, “Evermore.”

While I marvelled this ungainly bearded man explained so plainly,
Though his answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
For he cannot help a-printing, brand new currency a-minting
Ever yet was blessed with seeing nothing wrong in doing more
Mortgage bonds upon his balance sheet he’ll place, then markets jaw
With the promise “Evermore.”

“You there” said I, “standing muted — what is there to do aboot it?”
In a heavy accent quoth he — that by God he was quite sure
That more money being printed and, new measures being hinted
At would quell all fear of meltdown and the markets all would soar
Would this mean the printing presses would forever roar?
Quoth the Maven, “Evermore.”

Lastly to the fore there strode a small and bookish man, Kuroda,
Who with glint of eye did warn that he was happy to explore
Measures once thought so outrageous as to never mark the pages
In the history of finance — but those times were days of yore
Drastic printing was required, this was tantamount to war
Quoth the Maven, “Evermore.”

And the Mavens, never blinking, only sitting, only thinking
By the Cowboys mug from Dallas just inside my chamber door;
Really do believe their action has created decent traction,
And that freshly printed money can spew forth for evermore;
But the truth about the ending shall be seen when markets, bending
Shall be lifted — nevermore!

The full must-read Grant Williams letter is below:

Ttmygh Dec 09 2013

 

Marc Faber Warns The Fed “Will Never End Its Insane Policies” | Zero Hedge

Marc Faber Warns The Fed “Will Never End Its Insane Policies” | Zero Hedge.

“The Fed will never end QE for good…” blasts Marc Faber, “they may do some cosmetic adjustments, but within a few years, [Fed] asset purchases will be substantially higher than they are today.” There will be another weakening in the US economy, Faber warns, and “the Fed will argue it hasn’t done enough and will do more… they have been irresponsible for 20 years.”

Noting that investors should “not buy stocks but be in cash”, the stunned CNBC anchor exclaims “How could you sit in cash when th emarket is on fire and interest rates are so low?” to which Faber blasts, “The market is not on fire, look at IBM, Cisco, and Intel – all lower than 2011; it’s on fire if you are in Facebook or Twitter and not everyone owns them.”

Use rallies to reduce exposure, he warns, “we will go up until it is over; and when it is over the drop will be larger than 20%”

Is BP ‘trolling’ its Facebook critics? – Features – Al Jazeera English

Is BP ‘trolling’ its Facebook critics? – Features – Al Jazeera English.

Critics using BP America’s Facebook page allege they have been harassed [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]

Update: Public Relations firm Ogilvy has contacted Al Jazeera and denied that either “Griffin” or “Ken Smith” named as trolls in the report below have any affiliation with the company or with BP. Furthermore, in interests of full disclosure, it should be noted that Levin Papantonio, one of the partners of the law firm Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, has recently been involved in legal action against BP.
New Orleans, United States – BP has been accused of hiring internet “trolls” to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in US history.

The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened.

“Marie” was deeply concerned by the oil spill, and began posting comments on the BP America Facebook page. Today, she asks that she remain anonymous out of what she described to Al Jazeera as “fear for my personal safety should the BP trolls find out that I am the whistleblower in this case”.

In internet slang, a troll is someone who sows online discord by starting arguments or upsetting people, often posting inflammatory messages in an online community, or even issuing physical threats.

Marie sought assistance from the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a non-profit group in Washington DC, and has produced boxes of documents and well-researched information that may show that the people harassing BP’s critics online worked for BP or Ogilvy.

“We’d been hearing of this kind of harassment by BP when we were working on our health project [in the Gulf of Mexico], so it sparked our interest,” GAP investigator Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera. “We saw Marie’s documentation of more serious threats made on the BP page, and decided to investigate.”

According to both Marie and Devine, some of the threats began on the page, but then escalated off the page.

Threats included identifying where somebody lived, an internet troll making reference to having a shotgun and making use of it, and “others just being more derogatory”, according to Devine. “We’ve seen all this documentation and that’s why we thought it was worth bringing to the ombudsman’s office of BP, and we told them we thought some of it even warranted calling the police about.”

Death threats

“We have thousands of documents regarding communications posted through various Facebook websites,” said certified legal investigator Steve Lockman of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor. “In addtion, we are in possession of communications between the federal government and the ombudsman’s office of BP regarding the internet communications, and the federal government requesting BP to control the harassment through their Facebook page and their interactions.”

“The harassment communications are not something that BP and their people are not aware of,” Lockman told Al Jazeera. “It’s not a hidden secret that the personal attacks, broadcast abuse, and type-written harassment were happening and continue to go on.”

Marie provided the firm and Al Jazeera with files of complaint letters, computer screenshots of the abuse, and a list of Facebook profiles used by the people who harassed her and others.

“I was called a lot of names,” Marie added. “I was called a streetwalker and a lot of things like that, and eventually had gun threats.”

According to Marie, the harassment didn’t remain on the BP page. Trolls often followed users to their personal Facebook pages and continued to harass them there.

“They resorted to very demeaning methods of abuse,” Marie said. “They were racist, sexist, and threatened me and others with legal action and violence. They’ve insinuated that some commenters are ‘child molesters’, and have often used the tactic of mass reporting with the goal of having their targets completely removed from Facebook.”

One troll using the name “Griffin” makes several allusions to gun violence, while another, named “Ken Smith” also harassed and threatened users, even going so far as to edit a photo of a BP critic’s pet bird into the crosshairs of a gunsight, before posting the photo online – along with photos of an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons.

Another instance occurred involving “Griffin” and an environmentalist who posted a picture of a rendition of Mother Earth saying “Mother Earth Has Been Waiting for Her Day in Court, BP”. “Griffin” posted a comment to the picture that read, “A few rounds from a .50 cal will stop that b**ch”.

According to Marie, Lockman and GAP, BP’s “astroturfing” efforts and use of “trolls” have been reported as pursuing users’ personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics’ family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual compensation claims against BP.

Marie, along with several other targets of harassment, wrote and sent two letters to BP America, asking the company to respond to the allegations and deal with the matter. Neither letter received a response, which is why Marie decided to contact GAP, as well as the law firm.

While Marie’s evidence appears to tie Ogilvy and BP together via the trolls, the law firm Lockman works for is investigating further, in order to conclusively determine the extent of BP’s involvement.

Spinning the disaster

Stephen Marino worked for Ogilvy during the BP disaster. BP had been a client of Ogilvy for five years before the spill, and when the disaster occurred, “we were responsible for all the social media for BP during the spill”,Marino said during a lecture he gave at the University of Texas, Austin, on April 19, 2012.

His team, which he called the “digital influence team”, was “responsible for the crisis response”.  Marino told the audience that his job during the BP disaster was to run a ” reputation management campaign ” and gave this specific example of the depths to which Ogilvy worked to maintain a positive appearance for BP:

“We were putting out ads, if you guys remember those ads that came out where it would be Iris in the Gulf of Mexico and she’d be talking about how she grew up there and she wasn’t going to go away,” he explained . “The way we were working with the strategy on that was we would cut the ads one day, we would edit them overnight, we’d air them on Tuesday let’s say, and then we’d look at social media to see what the response was to the ads – and based upon the feedback we were getting on social media, the advertising agency would then go back and re-cut the ads to fix the message to make it resonate more with what the constituents wanted… that was the first key strategy.”

Chris Paulos, an attorney with the firm investigating Marie’s case, believes this is a perfect example of “subversive attempts by corporations to put forward their ideology of what we should think about them, and doing it in a way that is not decipherable to the average person”.

According to Paulos, the public should be concerned about this because we can no longer tell if people online are truly who they say they are, “or are working for a corporation and talking their script to control the dialogue about whatever issue they are addressing”.

“We are in unprecedented times with technology, and [in] the disparity between the power of corporations and autonomous consumers,” Paulos told Al Jazeera. ” Citizens United has basically emboldened corporations with their ability to speak as individuals with First Amendment rights. Ever since that decision, corporations have been outspoken and vigorously protecting themselves while doing it.”

BP’s response

Billie Garde, BP’s deputy ombudsman, in a letter to the Government Accountability Project dated December 18, 2012, stated clearly that “BP America contracts management of its Facebook page to Ogilvy Public Relations” and added, “Ogilvy manages all of BP America’s social media matters”.

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“According to BP America, Ogilvy has a group of 10 individuals in different time zones that perform comment screening of the page,” wrote Garde.

Interestingly, Garde’s letter addressed the fact that, at that time, according to Ogilvy’s data, 91 percent of all the comments on BP’s Facebook page were considered to be “unsupportive” of BP, while only nine percent were considered “supportive”.  She added that “i n previous years, the number of comments that were ‘unsupportive ‘ of BP was larger than the present 91 per cent “.

Her letter stated that Ogilvy follows a “three strike” policy for all comments, “meaning if they find a comment to be in violation of the commenting policy, they delete the comment and record a ‘strike’ against the user, and three strikes means a user is no longer able to comment on the page. It is also noted that Ogilvy will delete offending comments and send a note to the user indicating the comment was inappropriate”.

Garde added: “BP America has informed our office that Ogilvy strictly adheres to the Commenting Policy as stated on the BP America Facebook page. This policy serves as the guidelines that Ogilvy follows when evaluating the appropriateness of comments. Ogilvy does not evaluate a comment with respect to it being a positive or negative statement towards BP. Likewise, they do not delete any comments based on either of these qualifiers.”

According to Garde, BP America’s Director of Employee Concerns Oversight, Mike Wilson, was apprised of the situation. Wilson was provided examples of harassment and was asked if the examples were reviewed by Ogilvy. “The discussion is ongoing, and Mr Wilson is addressing these specific concerns internally,” Garde added.

A BP spokesman provided the following statement for Al Jazeera: “The BP America Facebook page, and its moderators, do not endorse or dictate any user activity. All users’ comments and actions are their own. BP created the BP America Facebook page to engage the public in an informative conversation about our ongoing commitment to America and to facilitate constructive dialogue for any and all who wish to participate. No users are compensated for participating in the Facebook community. More information on our commenting policy can be found here .”

Marie, however, staunchly believes that BP is responsible for the pro-BP Facebook trolls.

“I have no doubt that they are, and I’ve found the links between the trolls and their friends who work for BP,” she told Al Jazeera. “The Government Accountability Project, through the inquiry they’re conducting for me, is still trying to find out. But we are being stonewalled on the other end, as far as BP doing some type of an internal investigation into these connections that I’ve uncovered.”

According to Marie, the harassment “almost ceased completely at around the same time GAP received Garde’s letter. I say ‘almost’ because at least two of the people who were involved in the prior harassment are still allowed to comment on BP’s page to this day, and [one of those] was still checking on people’s profiles to obtain their state of residence, and would use this against them on the page.”

‘Terroristic threats’

Lockman’s investigation continues, as do the efforts of recovering additional documentation and sifting through information on hand that links the trolls to both BP and Ogilvy as well as to other subcontracted companies used by BP as creative storytellers.

“The information we possess regarding Marie’s claims, printed out, fills two file boxes, and that does not include all the DVDs which are currently being duplicated at this time,” Lockman said. “It is an unbelievable amount of documentation that has been developed. This documentation, support materials, and information is coming from several different sources. It is like a spider web and we just got started.”

Al Jazeera asked the firm Lockman works for what the possible legal ramifications would be for the alleged actions of BP and Ogilvy.

“What these guys are doing is bordering on illegal,” said Paulos the attorney. “Marie’s allegations are that these guys have made overt acts beyond what they did online, and it does sound like people who’ve been the victims of these actions believe they are in imminent danger of bodily harm, and that can become the basis for a claim of assault.”

Paulos went on to say that if people who had pending claims against BP were being targeted “it can become a claim of extortion or fraud, depending on how the money is being used”. The same applies in cases where money or other benefits are offered in exchange for ceasing the harrassment.

Yet these are not the worst possible crimes.

“They [BP/Ogilvy] are obviously trying to silence folks who are opposed or critical of what they are doing,” Paulos claimed. “But it appears as though it has moved into threats that can be considered terroristic threats depending on the intent behind them, so there are a lot of laws they can be treading on, including stalking, and tortious interference with someone’s businesses. I understand they’ve called the workplaces of people on the websites, and depending on what’s being said that may become actionable under US civil law. So there are a lot of ways they could be breaching the law based on the intent of their communication and how that has been received.”

Paulos believes Marie’s case is an example of how corporations such as BP use their money and power to take advantage of a lack of adequate legal regulations over the use of internet trolls and vigorous PR campaigns, and that this should give the general public pause.

“Marie’s story shows that corporations do not refrain from cyber-bullying, and they are doing it in a very aggressive fashion.”

Other harassment

Linda Hooper Bui, an associate professor of entomology at Louisiana State University, experienced a different form of harassment from BP while working on a study about the impact of the oil disaster on spiders and insects.

“BP was desperately trying to control the science, and that was what I ran into,” Bui told Al Jazeera. According to her, BP’s chief science officer “tried to intimidate me”, and the harassment included BP “bullying my people” who were working in the field with her on her study that revealed how “insects and spiders in the oiled areas were completely decimated”.

While collecting data for the study, Bui and her colleagues regularly ran into problems with BP, she said.

“Local sheriffs working under the auspices of BP, as well as personnel with Wildlife and Fisheries, the US Coast Guard – all of these folks working under BP were preventing us from doing our job,” Bui explained. “We were barred from going into areas to collect data where we had previous data.”

Bui said personnel from the USCG, Fish and Wildlife, and even local sheriffs departments, always accompanied by BP staff, worked to prevent her from entering areas to collect data, confiscated her samples, and “if I’d refused to oblige they would have arrested me” – despite her having state permits to carry out her work.

Bui has also been harassed online, by what she thinks was “a BP troll”, but she remained primarily concerned about what BP was doing to block her science. Her frustration about this prompted her to write an opinion article for The New York Times , titled A Gulf Science Blackout .

That is when she received a call from BP.

“August 24, 2010, at 7:15am the morning my op-ed was published, I received a call from BP’s chief science officer who tried to get me to be quiet,” Bui said. “He said he’d solve my problem, and asked me how much money I needed.”

Bui explained to him she was only interested in being allowed to conduct her studies, and was not interested in working with BP, “that I was publishing science and it involved the entire scientific community”, and she never heard back from him.

She believes her method of dealing with the overall situation was a success. “When somebody starts to mess with me, I publicise it and say: ‘Don’t f**k with me,'” she concluded. “And if you do, I’m going to go very public with it, and that’s what I did.”

BP did not respond to Al Jazeera for comment regarding her specific allegation.

GAP’s Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera she believes the onus is on BP to investigate the possibility that there is a connection between the harassment and Ogilvy and BP employees.

“But so far they’ve taken a very hands-off approach,” she explained. “They’ve not taken responsibility and they are not willing to share information with us.”

 

 

Social Media Monitoring: Feds To Keep Close Eye On Facebook Posts

Social Media Monitoring: Feds To Keep Close Eye On Facebook Posts.

OTTAWA – Big Brother is watching you — on just about every social-media platform you can imagine.

Tweets, public Facebook posts and YouTube videos could soon be subject to round-the-clock scrutiny by the federal government, a procurement document posted this week by Public Works and Government Services Canada suggests.

Welcome to media monitoring in the 21st century, when simply leafing through a stack of newspapers in the morning is about as antiquated as, well, newspapers.

The federal government is seeking a firm that “continuously monitors social media content on a daily basis in near real time and (can) provide web-based, online media metrics and reporting capabilities.”

That includes combing through “blogs, micro-blogs, social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter, forums and message boards, traditional news websites and comment sections, media sharing websites (videos, photos and user-generated content websites including YouTube).”

The contractor is also being asked to keep tabs on English- and French-language Internet news sites and blogs.

The document specifies that the contractor must be able to provide the service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Part of the job will be to gauge the sentiment and tone of posts and to determine their reach.

The social-media monitoring service must also come with the ability to filter searches by country, language and key words.

The work, which appears to be on an as-requested basis, runs from next February until January 2019.

Digital public affairs analyst Mark Blevis of FullDuplex.ca said it’s not unusual that a government would want to know what people are saying, although he concedes some might find that thought disconcerting.

“On one level, there is a creepiness factor to this,” Blevis said in an interview.

“But then on another level, it’s open data, it’s open information. If it’s publicly accessible, why should the government have any less privilege accessing it than anyone else in the public eye?

“What they do with it is going to be the big question.”

Social media can act as an “early warning system” to alert authorities to major disasters, Blevis said, just as it can be used to track public opinion.

“It depends on the intent. Is it creepy? Yeah, for the vast majority of the public it will seem creepy because the sense is the government is looking over their shoulder,” he said.

“But another part of me feels that this is a recognition that this where the conversations are happening now, and they’re happening in plain view.”

Public Works said Friday that while previous media monitoring work did involve social media, the technology has evolved to the point where a contractor who specializes in social media is necessary.

Media monitoring is standard procedure for any government that wants to understand how its policies and practices are being received by the public, spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold wrote in an emailed statement.

“The government is continuing to monitor social media as a part of general media monitoring,” Bujold said.

“Previously, supply arrangements for media monitoring included social media. Given it is a unique field that continues to grow, PWGSC issued on Nov. 29 a separate request for supply arrangements so that specialized firms can compete for this work.”

http://www.twitter.com/steve_rennie

 

Is BP ‘trolling’ its Facebook critics? – Features – Al Jazeera English

Is BP ‘trolling’ its Facebook critics? – Features – Al Jazeera English.

Critics using BP America’s Facebook page allege they have been harassed [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
New Orleans, United States – BP has been accused of hiring internet “trolls” to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in US history.

The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened.

“Marie” was deeply concerned by the oil spill, and began posting comments on the BP America Facebook page. Today, she asks that she remain anonymous out of what she described to Al Jazeera as “fear for my personal safety should the BP trolls find out that I am the whistleblower in this case”.

In internet slang, a troll is someone who sows online discord by starting arguments or upsetting people, often posting inflammatory messages in an online community, or even issuing physical threats.

Marie sought assistance from the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a non-profit group in Washington DC, and has produced boxes of documents and well-researched information that may show that the people harassing BP’s critics online worked for BP or Ogilvy.

“We’d been hearing of this kind of harassment by BP when we were working on our health project [in the Gulf of Mexico], so it sparked our interest,” GAP investigator Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera. “We saw Marie’s documentation of more serious threats made on the BP page, and decided to investigate.”

According to both Marie and Devine, some of the threats began on the page, but then escalated off the page.

Threats included identifying where somebody lived, an internet troll making reference to having a shotgun and making use of it, and “others just being more derogatory”, according to Devine. “We’ve seen all this documentation and that’s why we thought it was worth bringing to the ombudsman’s office of BP, and we told them we thought some of it even warranted calling the police about.”

Death threats

“We have thousands of documents regarding communications posted through various Facebook websites,” said certified legal investigator Steve Lockman of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor. “In addtion, we are in possession of communications between the federal government and the ombudsman’s office of BP regarding the internet communications, and the federal government requesting BP to control the harassment through their Facebook page and their interactions.”

“The harassment communications are not something that BP and their people are not aware of,” Lockman told Al Jazeera. “It’s not a hidden secret that the personal attacks, broadcast abuse, and type-written harassment were happening and continue to go on.”

Marie provided the firm and Al Jazeera with files of complaint letters, computer screenshots of the abuse, and a list of Facebook profiles used by the people who harassed her and others.

“I was called a lot of names,” Marie added. “I was called a streetwalker and a lot of things like that, and eventually had gun threats.”

According to Marie, the harassment didn’t remain on the BP page. Trolls often followed users to their personal Facebook pages and continued to harass them there.

“They resorted to very demeaning methods of abuse,” Marie said. “They were racist, sexist, and threatened me and others with legal action and violence. They’ve insinuated that some commenters are ‘child molesters’, and have often used the tactic of mass reporting with the goal of having their targets completely removed from Facebook.”

One troll using the name “Griffin” makes several allusions to gun violence, while another, named “Ken Smith” also harassed and threatened users, even going so far as to edit a photo of a BP critic’s pet bird into the crosshairs of a gunsight, before posting the photo online – along with photos of an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons.

Another instance occurred involving “Griffin” and an environmentalist who posted a picture of a rendition of Mother Earth saying “Mother Earth Has Been Waiting for Her Day in Court, BP”. “Griffin” posted a comment to the picture that read, “A few rounds from a .50 cal will stop that b**ch”.

According to Marie, Lockman and GAP, BP’s “astroturfing” efforts and use of “trolls” have been reported as pursuing users’ personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics’ family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual compensation claims against BP.

Marie, along with several other targets of harassment, wrote and sent two letters to BP America, asking the company to respond to the allegations and deal with the matter. Neither letter received a response, which is why Marie decided to contact GAP, as well as the law firm.

While Marie’s evidence appears to tie Ogilvy and BP together via the trolls, the law firm Lockman works for is investigating further, in order to conclusively determine the extent of BP’s involvement.

Spinning the disaster

Stephen Marino worked for Ogilvy during the BP disaster. BP had been a client of Ogilvy for five years before the spill, and when the disaster occurred, “we were responsible for all the social media for BP during the spill”,Marino said during a lecture he gave at the University of Texas, Austin, on April 19, 2012.

His team, which he called the “digital influence team”, was “responsible for the crisis response”.  Marino told the audience that his job during the BP disaster was to run a ” reputation management campaign ” and gave this specific example of the depths to which Ogilvy worked to maintain a positive appearance for BP:

“We were putting out ads, if you guys remember those ads that came out where it would be Iris in the Gulf of Mexico and she’d be talking about how she grew up there and she wasn’t going to go away,” he explained . “The way we were working with the strategy on that was we would cut the ads one day, we would edit them overnight, we’d air them on Tuesday let’s say, and then we’d look at social media to see what the response was to the ads – and based upon the feedback we were getting on social media, the advertising agency would then go back and re-cut the ads to fix the message to make it resonate more with what the constituents wanted… that was the first key strategy.”

Chris Paulos, an attorney with the firm investigating Marie’s case, believes this is a perfect example of “subversive attempts by corporations to put forward their ideology of what we should think about them, and doing it in a way that is not decipherable to the average person”.

According to Paulos, the public should be concerned about this because we can no longer tell if people online are truly who they say they are, “or are working for a corporation and talking their script to control the dialogue about whatever issue they are addressing”.

“We are in unprecedented times with technology, and [in] the disparity between the power of corporations and autonomous consumers,” Paulos told Al Jazeera. ” Citizens United has basically emboldened corporations with their ability to speak as individuals with First Amendment rights. Ever since that decision, corporations have been outspoken and vigorously protecting themselves while doing it.”

BP’s response

Billie Garde, BP’s deputy ombudsman, in a letter to the Government Accountability Project dated December 18, 2012, stated clearly that “BP America contracts management of its Facebook page to Ogilvy Public Relations” and added, “Ogilvy manages all of BP America’s social media matters”.

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“According to BP America, Ogilvy has a group of 10 individuals in different time zones that perform comment screening of the page,” wrote Garde.

Interestingly, Garde’s letter addressed the fact that, at that time, according to Ogilvy’s data, 91 percent of all the comments on BP’s Facebook page were considered to be “unsupportive” of BP, while only nine percent were considered “supportive”.  She added that “i n previous years, the number of comments that were ‘unsupportive ‘ of BP was larger than the present 91 per cent “.

Her letter stated that Ogilvy follows a “three strike” policy for all comments, “meaning if they find a comment to be in violation of the commenting policy, they delete the comment and record a ‘strike’ against the user, and three strikes means a user is no longer able to comment on the page. It is also noted that Ogilvy will delete offending comments and send a note to the user indicating the comment was inappropriate”.

Garde added: “BP America has informed our office that Ogilvy strictly adheres to the Commenting Policy as stated on the BP America Facebook page. This policy serves as the guidelines that Ogilvy follows when evaluating the appropriateness of comments. Ogilvy does not evaluate a comment with respect to it being a positive or negative statement towards BP. Likewise, they do not delete any comments based on either of these qualifiers.”

According to Garde, BP America’s Director of Employee Concerns Oversight, Mike Wilson, was apprised of the situation. Wilson was provided examples of harassment and was asked if the examples were reviewed by Ogilvy. “The discussion is ongoing, and Mr Wilson is addressing these specific concerns internally,” Garde added.

A BP spokesman provided the following statement for Al Jazeera: “The BP America Facebook page, and its moderators, do not endorse or dictate any user activity. All users’ comments and actions are their own. BP created the BP America Facebook page to engage the public in an informative conversation about our ongoing commitment to America and to facilitate constructive dialogue for any and all who wish to participate. No users are compensated for participating in the Facebook community. More information on our commenting policy can be found here .”

Marie, however, staunchly believes that BP is responsible for the pro-BP Facebook trolls.

“I have no doubt that they are, and I’ve found the links between the trolls and their friends who work for BP,” she told Al Jazeera. “The Government Accountability Project, through the inquiry they’re conducting for me, is still trying to find out. But we are being stonewalled on the other end, as far as BP doing some type of an internal investigation into these connections that I’ve uncovered.”

According to Marie, the harassment “almost ceased completely at around the same time GAP received Garde’s letter. I say ‘almost’ because at least two of the people who were involved in the prior harassment are still allowed to comment on BP’s page to this day, and [one of those] was still checking on people’s profiles to obtain their state of residence, and would use this against them on the page.”

‘Terroristic threats’

Lockman’s investigation continues, as do the efforts of recovering additional documentation and sifting through information on hand that links the trolls to both BP and Ogilvy as well as to other subcontracted companies used by BP as creative storytellers.

“The information we possess regarding Marie’s claims, printed out, fills two file boxes, and that does not include all the DVDs which are currently being duplicated at this time,” Lockman said. “It is an unbelievable amount of documentation that has been developed. This documentation, support materials, and information is coming from several different sources. It is like a spider web and we just got started.”

Al Jazeera asked the firm Lockman works for what the possible legal ramifications would be for the alleged actions of BP and Ogilvy.

“What these guys are doing is bordering on illegal,” said Paulos the attorney. “Marie’s allegations are that these guys have made overt acts beyond what they did online, and it does sound like people who’ve been the victims of these actions believe they are in imminent danger of bodily harm, and that can become the basis for a claim of assault.”

Paulos went on to say that if people who had pending claims against BP were being targeted “it can become a claim of extortion or fraud, depending on how the money is being used”. The same applies in cases where money or other benefits are offered in exchange for ceasing the harrassment.

Yet these are not the worst possible crimes.

“They [BP/Ogilvy] are obviously trying to silence folks who are opposed or critical of what they are doing,” Paulos claimed. “But it appears as though it has moved into threats that can be considered terroristic threats depending on the intent behind them, so there are a lot of laws they can be treading on, including stalking, and tortious interference with someone’s businesses. I understand they’ve called the workplaces of people on the websites, and depending on what’s being said that may become actionable under US civil law. So there are a lot of ways they could be breaching the law based on the intent of their communication and how that has been received.”

Paulos believes Marie’s case is an example of how corporations such as BP use their money and power to take advantage of a lack of adequate legal regulations over the use of internet trolls and vigorous PR campaigns, and that this should give the general public pause.

“Marie’s story shows that corporations do not refrain from cyber-bullying, and they are doing it in a very aggressive fashion.”

Other harassment

Linda Hooper Bui, an associate professor of entomology at Louisiana State University, experienced a different form of harassment from BP while working on a study about the impact of the oil disaster on spiders and insects.

“BP was desperately trying to control the science, and that was what I ran into,” Bui told Al Jazeera. According to her, BP’s chief science officer “tried to intimidate me”, and the harassment included BP “bullying my people” who were working in the field with her on her study that revealed how “insects and spiders in the oiled areas were completely decimated”.

While collecting data for the study, Bui and her colleagues regularly ran into problems with BP, she said.

“Local sheriffs working under the auspices of BP, as well as personnel with Wildlife and Fisheries, the US Coast Guard – all of these folks working under BP were preventing us from doing our job,” Bui explained. “We were barred from going into areas to collect data where we had previous data.”

Bui said personnel from the USCG, Fish and Wildlife, and even local sheriffs departments, always accompanied by BP staff, worked to prevent her from entering areas to collect data, confiscated her samples, and “if I’d refused to oblige they would have arrested me” – despite her having state permits to carry out her work.

Bui has also been harassed online, by what she thinks was “a BP troll”, but she remained primarily concerned about what BP was doing to block her science. Her frustration about this prompted her to write an opinion article for The New York Times , titled A Gulf Science Blackout .

That is when she received a call from BP.

“August 24, 2010, at 7:15am the morning my op-ed was published, I received a call from BP’s chief science officer who tried to get me to be quiet,” Bui said. “He said he’d solve my problem, and asked me how much money I needed.”

Bui explained to him she was only interested in being allowed to conduct her studies, and was not interested in working with BP, “that I was publishing science and it involved the entire scientific community”, and she never heard back from him.

She believes her method of dealing with the overall situation was a success. “When somebody starts to mess with me, I publicise it and say: ‘Don’t f**k with me,'” she concluded. “And if you do, I’m going to go very public with it, and that’s what I did.”

BP did not respond to Al Jazeera for comment regarding her specific allegation.

GAP’s Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera she believes the onus is on BP to investigate the possibility that there is a connection between the harassment and Ogilvy and BP employees.

“But so far they’ve taken a very hands-off approach,” she explained. “They’ve not taken responsibility and they are not willing to share information with us.”

Follow Dahr Jamail on Twitter: @DahrJamail

Veteran’s Day Weekend Humor: World War I Explained On Facebook | Zero Hedge

Veteran’s Day Weekend Humor: World War I Explained On Facebook | Zero Hedge.

As we remember the fallen this weekend…

Prussia: Oh, f##k you France.

(click image for huge legible version)

 

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