On Friday, members of the environmental activist group Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance staged a protest at Devon Tower, the headquarters of the company Devon Energy. The group was protesting the company’s use of fracking, its role in mining of Canada’s tar sands, and its ties to TransCanada, the company that will build the KeyStone XL pipeline.
In an otherwise quiet protest, Stefan Warner and Moriah Stephenson, hung banners from the building that used terminology from the recently popular series the Hunger Games. One was a cranberry colored sheet, with gold glitter showing the mockingjay, along with the words “The odds are never in your favor.”
Oklahoma City police came to the scene and arrested a bunch of activists, most of them charged most likely with trespassing, but Warner and Stephenson were charged with staging a fake bioterrorism attack. From Mother Jones:
Oklahoma City police spokesman Captain Dexter Nelson tells Mother Jones that Devon Tower security officers worried that the “unknown substance” falling from the two banners might be toxic because of “the covert way [the protesters] presented themselves…A lot were dressed as somewhat transient-looking individuals. Some were wearing all black,” he says. “Inside the banners was a lot of black powder substance, later determined to be glitter.” In their report, Nelson says, police who responded to the scene described it as a “biochemical assault.” “Even the FBI responded,” he adds. A spokesman for Devon Energy declined to comment.
How can anyone read this response and not laugh. The security officers saw glitter falling and the police were called, when they showed up, they could not identify the substance. Later it was identified as glitter. Any two-year-old can identify glitter. However, because they were transient-looking (whatever that means) and dressed in black. Even the FBI responded, they shout in defense of their stupid decision.
In Oklahoma, a conviction of “terrorist hoax” carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. However, given the circumstances, I would say a conviction is highly unlikely in this case.
Image: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance