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Frackalypse Now: Mark Fiore Spoofs Oil Industry’s PSYOPS Campaign To Derail Fracking “Insurgency”


DeSmogBlog partnered with Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore to produce this spoof video in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” Making its debut today in honor of Gasland 2, which features the details of the gas industry’s psychological warfare scandal, here is “Frackalypse Now” (click link to watch on Youtube).

As we originally reported on DeSmogBlog in November 2011:

At the “Media & Stakeholder Relations: Hydraulic Fracturing Initiative 2011” conference [in Nov. 2011] in Houston, Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Range Resources, revealed in his presentation that Range has hired Army and Marine veterans with combat experience in psychological warfare to influence communities in which Range drills for gas.

As CNBC reported, Range spokesman Matt Pitzarella boasted to the audience:

“[“…looking to other industries, in this case, the Army and the Marines. We have several former PSYOPs folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments. 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 PSYOPs in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.”

[**Listen: MP3**]

At that same conference, Matt Carmichael, External Affairs Manager at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, suggested three things to attendees during his presentation:

“If you are a PR representative in this industry in this room today, I recommend you do three things. These are three things that I’ve read recently that are pretty interesting.

“(1) Download the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual [audible gasps from the audience], 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. (2) With that said, there’s a course provided by Harvard and MIT twice a year, and it’s called ‘Dealing With an Angry Public.’ Take that course. Tied back to the Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency [Field] Manual, is that a lot of the officers in our military are attending this course. It gives you the tools, it gives you the media tools on how to deal with a lot of the controversy that we as an industry are dealing with. (3) Thirdly, I have a copy of “Rumsfeld’s Rules.” You’re all familiar with Donald Rumsfeld — that’s kind of my bible, by the way, of how I operate.”

[**Listen: MP3**]

We learned a lot more from this episode about the gas industry’s aggressive intimidation tactics and personnel, so please read the original report and additional coverage for further details.

The use of PSYOPs by active military personnel on U.S. citizens is illegal and a violation of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, as Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone explained in his February 2011 investigative story uncovering the fact that U.S. military generals had used PSYOPs on members of Congress. The Smith-Mundt act “was passed by Congress to prevent the State Department from using Soviet-style propaganda techniques on U.S. citizens.”

To this day, there has been no Congressional investigation of the oil and gas industry’s usage of PSYOPs personnel and tactics on U.S. soil.

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bdemelle

bdemelle

Brendan DeMelle is Managing Editor of DeSmogBlog and a freelance writer and researcher specializing in new media, politics, climate change and clean energy. He has served as research associate for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., researcher for Ring of Fire Radio, researcher for Laurie David and StopGlobalWarming.org, law and policy analyst for Environmental Working Group, campus organizer for Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, environmental justice associate for EPA Region 10, among other positions in his career.

His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist Magazine, DeSmogBlog, EnergyBoom, Salon, The Washington Times, and other outlets, including a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Rural History about the impacts of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project. DeMelle has provided writing and communications services on a wide range of topics, with a demonstrated ability to simplify complex and technical issues into concise, accessible language for general public consumption.

He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies in 1998, and lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Anne.