TransCanada Ordered Texas Police To Use Brutal Tactics Against Peaceful Protesters

By scott parkin
Call TransCanada's CEO and tell him we stand with the brutalized Tar Sands Blockade activists. Click image to jump to a sample call script.

Yesterday, we learned that Texas police applied sustained chokeholds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of tasers to move two peaceful protesters—all at the behest of TransCanada employees.

On Monday, eight brave people climbed trees on private land in Texas to block construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline and protect their homes. On Tuesday, two peaceful protesters with the Tar Sands Blockade, Shannon Beebe and Benjamin Franklin, locked themselves to Transcanada’s machinery in support of the tree-sit, delaying work on the pipeline for most of the day.

Here’s how our allies on the ground in Texas described what happened to Shannon and Benjamin (warning: it’s pretty horrifying):

The most physically aggressive was the ranking officer, a Lieutenant with the Wood County Sheriff Department under the observation of TransCanada employees. He twisted and contorted the tube that [Shannon] Bebe and Franklin had locked their arms into, cutting off circulation to their hands and cutting abrasions into their hands and forearms.

Franklin and Bebe then describe pepper spray as the most painful part of their ordeal. Police sprayed into their lockdown tube, and the chemicals burned their already-open wounds.

Fortunately they were able to make it through their mutual torture by intimating personal reassurances to each other. Franklin and Bebe say they were able to endure the pain knowing that they were in it together. Despite the immense pain our brave blockaders remained locked to the machinery for several hours—determined to stop this toxic tar sands pipeline.

After the pepper spray didn’t work the police again conferred with TransCanada employees before sending someone back to the police car to bring a taser. Franklin and Bebe were each tased for one second. Then Franklin was tased for 5 entire seconds. He described the pain as immense and almost physically unbearable.

Afterwards, John, the senior TransCanada supervisor, openly congratulated the aggressive Sheriffs Department Lieutenant on a “job well done.” To which the Lieutenant replied: “if this happens again we’ll just skip to using pepper spray and tasing in the first 10 minutes.”

Will you help us send a message to show that Shannon and Benjamin are not alone? Call TransCanada CEO Ross Girling to let him know that we won’t stand for Big Oil instigating police brutality against peaceful protesters. Here’s his number: 1.800.661.3805 (click here to jump to a sample call script).

At the beginning of September, tar sands oil giant TransCanada started construction on the 485-mile southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will send billions of gallons of crude oil from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX. After using every political and legal avenue to attempt to stop this dirty oil pipeline from devastating their homes, Texas landowners, environmentalists and average folks took to the trees to block Transcanada’s pipeline construction. Forming the “Tar Sands Blockade,” these brave people are using non-violent civil disobedience to stop this pipeline from destroying their land and watershed as well as our climate. Shannon and Benjamin’s treatment has shaken all of them, and they need our support now more than ever.

Thankfully, Shannon and Benjamin are ok, but their treatment was beyond abhorrent. Every one of us has taken a stand against the Keystone XL pipeline. We need to stand with Texans today who are still fighting this pipeline as it threatens to snake across their lands and dislocate their homes.

For brutality of this scale, a simple email to the CEO just wont cut it. Please take a few minutes today to call TransCanada CEO Ross Girling and let him know that his company’s urging of police brutality against peaceful protesters will not be tolerated… and neither will his tar sands pipeline. Here’s how:

1. Call 1.800.661.3805 (free call from anywhere in North America).

2. If someone answers the phone, ask to speak to Ross Girling (it’s highly unlikely they will put you through). Whether your call is answered by voicemail or a real person, be polite and respectful, but above all make sure you state how seriously you’re taking TransCanada’s encouragement of police brutality against peaceful protesters.

Here’s a sample call script:

Hello, my name is ____{name}____ and I’m calling today to tell Ross Girling that I think it’s absolutely reprehensible that TransCanada is urging police brutality against peaceful protesters.

On September 25th, police used brutal tactics like chokeholds, pepper-spray and tasers on two peaceful protesters occupying TransCanada contstruction equipment in Texas–at the behest of TransCanada employees on the scene.

I am outraged at these acts and TransCanada’s participation in them. I demand that your employees cease participating in these activities immediately.

Thank you for your time.

3. After you call, click the button below to report how it went. It’s important we get an accurate count of how many folks made a call, and what TransCanada’s response is.

In the past two months, the Tar Sands Blockade has brought new energy to the campaign to stop the Keystone pipeline. TransCanada knows we’re a threat to its plans to wreck the planet for profit—and that’s exactly why we must keep the pressure up. We WILL stop the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all, thanks to you and everything you do.