Jan 26, 2011
Virginia Cody is a retired Air Force officer and an anti-gas-drilling activist. She was shocked when she mistakenly received a bulletin from no less than the Pennsylvania Homeland Security director which described the monitoring (spying) on several anti-drilling groups and her name and writing in their reports.
Let me say that sadly Virginia’s story isn’t unique. It turns out that similar “law enforcement” activities have occurred in 33 states, and in their “anti-terrorism” reports, classifying responsible citizens’ efforts to keep the environment clean with Al Qaeda activities, as in Virginia’s tale of “Cabot Community Picnic attended by Al Qaeda anti-gas-drilling activists.”
She had first written a letter against gas-drilling to the editor of her town paper. She then wrote about it on her blog and that material wound up on Facebook. Virginia would effectively respond to those who thought drilling was a good thing that it was indeed a bad thing. Strangely, the state Homeland Security director, James Powers, confused Virginia with being pro-drilling and wrote to her that she should only write about keeping the Marcellus Shale (drilling region) Company for its stakeholders and not for fomenters of dissent, which subsequently helped Virginia’s ire to force his resignation.
Here was a public official trying to suppress a citizen’s First Amendment rights under the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps her passion about this subject came in part for the love of her town, Factoryville, Pennsylvania, which is nestled in a valley between two large mountains where the fracking (drilling) is going on. Across the street from her home runs a beautiful fresh stream. She could envision, sooner or later, the totally polluted water flowing down from the mountains’ streams and killing everything live in her beautiful stream as well.
In fact, only 10 miles from her house was the drilling company, in the mountains, with 110 wells covering a nine-mile radius, polluting the waters, the land and quality of life.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 8:28 am