As the result of a Freedom of Information suit brought by The Guardian, the FBI has revealed it maintained an open investigation of 350.org — the climate activism group founded by Bill McKibben — and its members as part of an ongoing anti-terrorism campaign. “Trying to deal with the greatest crisis humans have stumbled into shouldn’t require being subjected to government surveillance,” McKibben says. “But when much of our government acts as a subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry, it may be par for the course.” He added the FBI’s apparent failure to distinguish between nonviolent civil disobedience and domestic terrorism was contemptible.
The case centered on three people who drove more than 5 hours from Iowa to participate in a protest at a BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana on the shores of Lake Michigan. That refinery is one of the largest in North America. The three friends — Jonas Magram, Thom Krystofiak and Inga Frick — are all in their 60s. They were participating in the Break Free event organized by 350.org, which drew more than 30,000 protesters around the world.
All three assumed they would be arrested in Indiana. None of them expected to be included in an FBI probe of domestic terrorism, however. “It is very, very troubling that those of us who are committed to protecting life on our planet through peaceful protest would be regarded as suspected enemies of the state.”