Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Fracking is a contentious business. The process of injecting chemicals at high-pressure into the earth to pull out gas and oil has prompted as many reports condemning it as there are declaring it safe.Homeowners concerned for the safety of their well water, and environmentalists, who believe the drilling even caused the Oklahoma earthquake, have formed movements against the practice, and it was these efforts that came up for discussion at last week’s oil industry conference in Houston.
Filled with industry insiders all facing the same challenges and concerns, speakers lectured openly on how they handled the American public in communities where they drilled.
There, recording it all, was environmental activist Sharon Wilson, director of the Oil & Gas Accountability Project.
In the following recording, given to CNBC, one presenter tells the crowd to download a copy of the Army’s counterinsurgency manual. “Because,” he said, the movement opposing the industry is an “insurgency.”
In this next recording (also given to CNBC) the speaker tells listeners that his organisation maintains several military veterans who served as psychological warfare specialists. These former “psy ops” soldiers, he explains, are using their skills in Pennsylvania.
Wilson paid full price for attendance to the conference and wore a nametag identifying herself and her organisation.
In his forum called “Designing a Media Relations Strategy To Overcome Concerns Surrounding Hydraulic Fracturing,” Range Resources communications director Matt Pitzarella explains how to “overcome stakeholder concerns” surrounding fracking.
“We have several former psy ops folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localised issues and local governments,” Pitzarella said. “Really all they do is spend most of their time helping folks develop local ordinances and things like that. But very much having that understanding of psy ops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.”
It was during Anadarko Petroleum’s manager of external affairs, Matt Carmichael’s, session on “Understanding How Unconventional Oil & Gas Operators are Developing a Comprehensive Media Relations Strategy to Engage Stakeholders and Educate the Public” that he suggested his colleagues:
“Download the U.S. Army-slash-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, because we are dealing with an insurgency,” Carmichael said. “There’s a lot of good lessons in there and coming from a military background, I found the insight in that extremely remarkable.”
To be clear on exactly what Carmichael meant when he said they’re “dealing with an insurgency” we obtained a copy of the FM 3-24 — the final edition of the 2006 Counterinsurgency manual provided to psy ops soldiers. We substituted the word government with corporation.
” … insurgency has been a common approach used by the weak to combat the strong. At the beginning of a conflict, insurgents have the strategic initiative … the insurgents generally initiate the war. They may strive to disguise their intentions, and the potential counter-insurgent will be at a great disadvantage until [corporate] leaders recognise that an insurgency exists and are able to determine its makeup and characteristics to facilitate a coordinated reaction.
While the [corporation] prepares to respond, the insurgent is gaining strength and creating increasing disruptions throughout the state. The existing [corporation] normally has an initial advantage in resources, but that edge is counterbalanced by the requirement to maintain order. The insurgent succeeds by sowing chaos and disorder anywhere; the [corporation] fails unless it maintains order everywhere.
Check out FM 3-24 below, section 1-1 provides the overview of an “insurgency.” It provides an interesting insight into how corporations impacting the daily lives of US citizens conduct policy.
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