Is a far-right militia taking over the Bakken oil fields?
A bombshell story from Justin Nobel at DeSmogblog yesterday reports that members of the Three Percenters have infiltrated the Bakken oil fields. To those steeped in climate change, a group of people called “Three Percenters” may be mistaken for the name of those who deny the consensus about climate science shared by 97% of scientists. While that’s not the case, it might not be all that far off either… The members of the III% as it’s abbreviated, are well-armed anti-government extremists that style themselves as a militia.
By Climate Denier Roundup
They their name from the (mythical) idea that it took only three percent of American colonists actively fought to overthrow the British government. In short, they’re spoiling for a second Civil War, and they’re a lot more serious about it than their more meme-loving hawiian-shirt-wearing “boogaloo” ideological little brothers because many in the III%’s “anti-government” movement have backgrounds as military and police personnel.
As you might guess from the fact that they were created in response to President Obama’s election, they’re also pretty racist. They try to deny it, but various chapter members were arrested for trying to bomb a mosque, provided security for the fatal “Unite the Right” Charlottesville rally and more recently for anti-lockdown protests, and — by far most amusingly — boisterously joined in a racist signalong led by a disguised Sacha Baron Cohen.
Oh, and like the aforementioned 3% of consensus-deniers, III%’ers are no fans of climate action, as you may remember from their involvement in the Oregon Republican Party’s subversion of democracy to block the passage of climate policy. Three Percenters offered to fight off the state police who might’ve come to collect the Republican officials fleeing the state to deprive Democrats of the quorum necessary to pass legislation.
So they’re well-armed, and are willing to use those weapons against police and people of color who oppose their anti-government, isolationist ideology.
With all that in mind, here’s
the another scary part: apparently the Bakken oil fields are rife with Three Percenters. According to the whistleblower account published by DeSmog, as many as half of the employees at one facility were either III%’ers or sympathizers. Some half of the two dozen employees of the Lonesome Creek Gas Processing Plant proudly wear and display III% paraphernalia, “talk about automatic weapons all the time,” and “are basically supportive of the idea of some sort of eventual civil war in the United States of America.”
One talked about hijacking a jet, perhaps jokingly, but that’s the problem. Former domestic terrorism analyst for the Department of Homeland Security Daryl Johns told DeSmog that III%ers “are operationally minded people with a paranoid worldview that believe at some point there is going to be a societal collapse.”
And their working in oil may not be a coincidence, he explained: “what militias like this do is conduct surveillance and find facilities they will either need to take over or attack when ‘shit hits the fan.’ When they are working, they are also thinking about what else they would need to do to bring the plant to its knees. They may follow the order of their commander or act on a lone wolf instinct, and their allegiance lies not with their employer but with the militia, although they might think they are doing something righteous and good for the country.”
The whistleblower, Paul Lehto, told Desmog that he managed a night shift with two other workers- one was actively involved in the III%, and the other was a sympathizer.
According to a risk assessment of the facility, a release of 368,536 pounds of flammable mixture at the site’s storage take could create an explosion so powerful the destruction would have a half-mile radius.
If Three Percenters in Oregon were ready to defend the fossil fuel industry by protecting Republican lawmakers from state police, with violence if necessary, who’s to say what these “operationally minded people with a paranoid worldview” might do with a whole explosive facility at their disposal- and a people of color who live around it.
Tomorrow, we’ll get into the last section of Nobel’s DeSmog report, on the relationship between the Native American communities and the Bakken oil workers and Three Percenters…
(Crossposted with DailyKos.)