“We are dealing with an insurgency.” In your dreams, dude.

To anyone who knows a little of the history and nature of the oil & gas industry, it will come as no particular surprise that a couple of gas industry executives, at a 10/31 – 11/01  conference in Houston, recommended the use of military psy ops techniques and former military psy ops operatives to infiltrate and influence communities  in an campaign to “overcome public concern over hydraulic fracturing.”

Over and over, on every scale, from its dealings with everyone from homeowners to local government to state government,  the industry has demonstrated a gross sense of entitlement.  “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” (Links later. ) But perhaps nothing exemplifies this so simply and directly as the statement of Matt Carmichael, Anadarko representative, (see photo above) who recommended his fellow industry executives, “Download the U.S. Army-slash-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, because we are dealing with an insurgency.  There’s a lot of good lessons in there and coming from a military background, I found the insight in that extremely remarkable.”

His fellow executive, Matt Pitzarella, also pictured above, of Range Resources, seconded Carmichael’s advice:  “One employee who works with municipal governments in Pennsylvania has a background in psychological operations in the Army. Since the majority of his work is spent in local hearings and developing local regulations for drilling, we’ve found that his service in the Middle East is a real asset.”  (Story with audio clips here)

Of course, these statements reveal much that warrants commentary,  but somewhere near the top is what Carmichael’s phrase, “We are dealing with an insurgency,” demonstrates about the gas industry’s self-perception.

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of an insurgency:  “An armed rebellion against a constituted authority (for example, an authority recognized as such by the United Nations).”

So if in the gas industry’s thinking, community resistance to the many hazards of gas extraction constitutes an insurgency, or illegitimate armed rebellion, then the gas industry considers itself a “constituted authority.”

Citizens everywhere have news for you, boys: yes, the very special treatment you’ve been getting for the last 100 years has made you a very spoiled, very  large, and indeed very dangerous child.  But you are not a “constituted authority” despite your wet dreams.  And we are not a rebellion.

You are the outlaws.  We are the citizens with whom the constituted authority ultimately rests.

One thing you got right: we are armed, with a weapon that history suggests you have little use for – the truth.