Our View: When the FBI Wants to Be Your Friend

Lee Rozen, for the Editorial Board

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 1/30/15

Don’t say a word until your attorney gets there, said one member of the editorial board.

Oh, I’d invite them in, because I’d be so curious about what they were interested in asking me, said another.

Just because I’d tell them they could ask, doesn’t mean I’d answer, said another.

Don’t say a word without your lawyer, the first repeated.

To be clear, the FBI has no interest in asking your editorial board any questions.

But they sure would like to talk to members of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and other Northwest environmental activists. Continue reading

Spokane FBI Article/Protest Photo Shoot at 10 am Thursday 1/8/15

WIRT activists and allied comrades,

The co-author of the Portland Rising Tide/Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) chapter Resistance to Alberta Tar Sands Transports in Idaho and Beyond in his anthology about land-based struggles, Grabbing Back, the remarkable writer and friend Alexander Reid Ross consistently shares with the world collective stories of often obscure but always earnest Northwest confrontations with climate change perpetrators and their local, state, and federal facilitators, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  A colleague referred him to Defending Dissent Foundation, which published his latest, extensive essay on their Newswire site, revealing ongoing covert and recently overt FBI harassment, local arrest, and attempted repression of anti-fossil fuel activists in the Northwest [1].  During the last three days, his article has appeared in seven esteemed, online journals, including Climate Connections hosted by the Global Justice Ecology Project, who noted that his excellent story about the FBI contact of core WIRT activists Herb Goodwin in Bellingham, Helen Yost in Moscow, and Deep Green Resistance members in Washington and the Payette County public meeting arrest of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE)’s Alma Hasse in early October “works through individual stories that show the effects of harassment on people’s lives, and also provides the larger context of the movement as it continues to evolve” [2-7].

Rising Tide North America (RTNA) and Tar Sands Blockade have widely circulated these pieces, via facebook meme posts and Tweets, about the FBI finally contacting WIRT activists after surveilling us for three and one-half years (maybe because we have been unusually quiet over the last three months, making their snoop fixes difficult).  Our RTNA comrades assert that:

Billy Bragg once said, “If you’ve got a blacklist, I want to be on it.”  Well, we’re definitely on somebody’s list.  In 2014, the federal harassment of Rising Tide activists in the Northwest continued, this time in Idaho and Bellingham, Washington.  The feds harassed activists fighting fossil fuel infrastructure in the Northwest with “knock and talks” and surveillance.  But, of course, the @$$holes who crashed the economy on Wall Street in 2008, and their monstrous clients in the fossil fuel industry who poison and pollute communities on a daily basis with oil, gas, and coal, carry on with business-as-usual.  It’s not a flaw in the system that allows this to happen: it was designed that way.

WIRT offers our sincere praise to all the folks who interviewed and wrote this article like Alex, Alma Hasse, and Herb Goodwin, but especially everyone who has participated in this awe-inspiring movement striving for a better, fossil fuels-free world, like Cascadia Forestdefenders, IRAGE, Spokane Rising Tide, Portland Rising Tide, Rising Tide Seattle, Rising Tide Vancouver-Coast Salish Territories, Rising Tide Bellingham, other Rising Tide groups, Seattle Raging Grannies, and all of our outrageous, indigenous, and climate comrades around the continent. Continue reading

FBI WIRT Inquiries

December 10 & 19, 2014

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent Travis Thiede placed missed phone calls from Coeur d’Alene cell phone number 208-661-0316 to Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT)/Helen Yost three times on December 10, 2014, at 8:10 am, 11:21 am, and 1:07 pm [1-3].  Mr. Thiede called WIRT during the Third Annual Stand Up! Fight Back! Against Fossil Fuels in the Northwest! meetings, likely drawn, with his agency, to these gatherings in Sandpoint, Idaho, on December 8, in Spokane, Washington, on December 9, and in Moscow, Idaho, on December 10 [4].  Helen did not notice these three missed calls until about 3 pm on December 23, 2014.

A little before 10 am on Friday morning, December 19, 2014, WIRT/Helen received another missed, incoming phone call from the same Coeur d’Alene cell phone.  After this fourth call at 9:47 am, Mr. Thiede messaged the WIRT phone, and Helen replied via the following text messages:

TT (12/19, 9:51 am): “Helen, I am trying to get a hold of you to speak with you.  An issue has come up, and I need to speak with you.  Please give me a call.  I am an FBI agent.  SA Travis Thiede.  208-661-0316”

HY (12/19, 9:59 am): “NO!”

TT (12/19, 10:03 am): “OK, I understand, just wanted to have a conversation with you.  Thanks.”

HY (12/20 next day, 9:17 am): “I do not wish to speak with you or any of your associates about anything.”

The December 23, 2014 Morning Mix and Evening Report radio news programs of KRFP Radio Free Moscow ran an interview about the situation with core WIRT activist Helen, by station manager Leigh Robartes [5].  The news story discussed FBI conversation requests and offered updates on the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) petition and demonstration advocating safety measures for U.S. Highway 95 before re-routing south of Moscow, Idaho.  During the December 23 midnight interview, Helen read directly from the text messages on the cell phone, still unaware of previously attempted FBI contact.  The interview implied that the special agent had called concerning December 17 WIRT comments on the PRDC highway safety petition submitted to various agencies and/or about December 19 WIRT remarks about our motivations for this campaign [6, 7].  A PRDC/WIRT co-activist noticed at least two unmarked cars observing the December 19 PRDC safety demonstration, which occurred only 3 1/2 hours after the FBI text messages [8].

October 9, 2014

Despite WIRT awareness of likely surveillance since September 2011, these encounters represent the second/third recent instances of direct contact.  Late in the morning of October 9, 2014, the FBI came to the door of a distant, core WIRT activist in Bellingham, Washington, wanting to ask questions about the activities of another group, Deep Green Resistance (DGR) [9].  Our great comrade correctly declined giving answers, which resulted in the agents leaving.  That evening (at about the same time as Payette, Idaho police arrested Alma Hasse of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction at a county meeting), he graciously provided this description of his FBI interactions: Continue reading

Not Yet, Calumet! Megaload & Refinery Protests

Dell Montana Megaload

According to various Montana media accounts, the third, final, and top Calumet Montana Refining hydrocracker section, bound for Great Falls, Montana, and hauled by recent Oregon megaload-dropping Bigge Crane and Rigging, left the Dell, Montana area on Wednesday evening, October 1 [1, 2].  Its arduous trek traversing Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 287, and Montana Highway 200 may require seven or fewer nights, like the second, heavier load.  Ongoing news breakdowns, if not blackouts, suggest that it may have entered Montana over Monida Pass by road, not by rail like the second such transport that crossed two Indian reservations [3, 4].  Uncritically publishing the September 29 Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) press release, the local, weekly Dillon Tribune newspaper finally printed front-page news of the move, but claimed no previous knowledge of these two heaviest-ever, regional megaloads weighing over 1.3 million pounds [5].  Despite MDT statements to the media, veterans of four-plus years of megaload opposition cannot trust MDT’s assertion that “there are no more expected ‘megaloads’ on the calendar, using any of the routes through Montana” [1].

As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies prepare for anti-megaload actions, heeding the same reasons we have always resisted fossil fuel evils, Washington and Idaho activists are still deliberating our travel options (that need your donations!) and anticipating that this behemoth could arrive in Great Falls as early as Wednesday night, October 7-8.  Because minimal and broken MDT website links to the presumably similar second megaload transport plan perhaps purposely offer little information, we contacted MDT, asking where on its website concerned citizens could find the Bigge transportation plan for these megaloads [6].  MDT staff replied that, “As of this evening (Friday, October 3), the current, parked location of Bigge Crane and Rigging’s megaload is milepost 108.8 on Interstate 15 [about 17 miles south of Butte].  They are expected to remain parked until Sunday night, at which point they will go through Butte.”  MDT referred additional questions regarding travel routes, planned stops, and past moves to Motor Carrier Services Division Administrator Duane Williams at 406-444-7312 or duwilliams@mt.gov.

WIRT’s best, mapped guess of the progression of routes and layover spots of the third Bigge/Calumet megaload in Montana, based on all currently available agency and media information, follows [7].
* Sunday night, October 5-6: Interstate 15 from Feely through Butte to Jefferson City (points B to C)
* Monday night, October 6-7: Jefferson City through Helena to Lyons Creek (points C to D)
* Tuesday night, October 7-8: Lyons Creek through Wolf Creek to U.S. Highway 287 and Montana Highway 200 to Sun River (points D to E)
* Wednesday night, October 8-9: Highway 200 to Frontage/Vaughn Road to Northwest Bypass to Third Street NW to Calumet Montana Refining (points E to F) Continue reading

ITD Bigge Calumet Megaload Public Records 9-12-14

Approved with Requirements – Bigge Crane on U.S. 95 & S.H. 200

Bigge Idaho Route Plan Draft 2 (Last)

CMR Procedure for Setting Bridge Jumpers at Strong Creek Bridge

CMR Procedure for Setting Bridge Jumpers at U.S. 95 MP 357.68

CMR Procedure for Setting Bridge Jumpers at U.S. 95 MP 461.315

Heavy Haul General Arrangement – Section 3

ITD Email Messages in 9-12-14 Public Records

Jump Bridge Analysis – Bigge Calumet

North Idaho Transportation Plan Revision B

Section 3 Revision 1A

Strong Creek Jumpers

Transportation Plan Revision 1JR (Last)

U.S. 95 MP 357.68 Jumpers

U.S. 95 MP 461.315 Jumpers

Sunday Night Megaload Protest Around Idaho Highway 200

Multiple on-site and network sources confirmed at about 9:30 pm on Friday, August 15, that the Calumet tar sands refinery hydrocracker section hauled by Bigge Crane and Rigging would not move on Friday and Saturday nights, August 15 and 16.  Although the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has released the Bigge transportation plan for hauling this million-pound transport on the most convoluted route ever across Idaho and Montana to Great Falls, and several mainstream media sources have circulated information about its Montana route, it is unclear whether MDT has yet issued Bigge a Montana megaload permit [1].  The agency generally does not allow oversize rig travel during the day or on weekend (Friday and Saturday) nights.  As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) compiles a comprehensive report about the last week of megaload protesting, monitoring, and formal petitioning in Idaho, as well as a description of upcoming Montana megaload transit plans and associated resistance, please provide an appropriate send-off to the Bigge/Calumet load and convoy that have so thoroughly degraded public resources and democracy in Idaho.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide is deeply grateful for the enthusiastic and experienced commitment and camaraderie of the progressive Idaho panhandle community, shared during respective Thursday and Saturday Sandpoint protests of this inbound refinery component and outbound coal export shipments.  We are depending on the strength and spirit of a great group of protestors converging in Hope and Clark Fork to oppose the passage of the Bigge/Calumet hydrocracker megaload on its last night in Idaho.  Early on Friday morning, Bigge parked its payload, trailers, and trucks at Idaho Highway 200 milepost 44.4, just west of Hope, Idaho, in anticipation of movement on Sunday night or later [2].  The convoy will travel on Business Highway 200 through Hope and East Hope, use jump bridges to traverse Strong and Riser Creeks, and risk sharp turns from Wellington Place to Centennial Boulevard and back onto Highway 200, not to mention the hazards of roadside cliffs and sloughing roadway along nearby Lake Pend Oreille wetlands and shorelines.  Please see Idaho and Montana Bigge transportation plans posted on the WIRT website and bring your friends, family, and protest signs to gather outside the Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, at 9 pm on Sunday, August 17, and to monitor and protest the last 18 miles of this Alberta tar sands/Bakken shale oil infrastructure onslaught through Idaho [3-5].

[1] Million-Pound Megaload Will Roll through Bull, Swan Valleys (August 15, 2014 Ravalli Republic)

[2] Bigge-Hauled Calumet Hydrocracker Section at Idaho Highway 200 Milepost 44, Idaho 8-15-14 (August 15, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[3] ITD Highway 95 & 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14 (July 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, Idaho (August 17, 2014 Google Maps)

[5] Biggest Megaload Never! (August 10, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

Megaload Bound for Montana is North of Moscow

A megaload that left the Port of Wilma Sunday is taking a break after encountering peaceful protests in Moscow and Lewiston.

The hydrocracker section bound for a Calumet refinery in Great Falls, Montana, is at the Latah/Benewah county line, about 25 miles north of Moscow, said Idaho State Police Captain Lonnie Richardson.

It will wait to resume its trip until at least this evening, so that its movements can be coordinated with construction farther north along U.S. Highway 95, Richardson said.

The state police officers are being paid by Bigge Crane and Rigging, the contractor hauling the megaload, to travel with the shipment.  Richardson said troopers are there to coordinate emergency responses, make sure other vehicles on the road don’t face significant delays, and to prevent protesters from blocking its progress.

So far, he said, the protesters haven’t presented much of a problem.

Fewer than ten protesters were in Lewiston, some with signs and others with cameras.  In Moscow, he said the opponents numbered about 30, yelled on the sidewalks and held up banners. Continue reading

Megaload Clears Lewiston Grade, Expected in Moscow Late Tonight or Early Tuesday

The megaload haul containing a huge piece of a hydrocracker, equipment for use at a Great Falls, Montana, oil facility, left the Port of Wilma on Sunday night and cleared the Lewiston Grade before pulling off U.S. Highway 95 at mile post 320 at 2:18 am, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

It’s expected to continue traveling north on U.S. 95 tonight.  It can move between the hours of 10 pm and 5:30 am and is expected to reach Moscow late tonight or early Tuesday.

The haul is 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 16 feet, 8 inches high and weighs 926,000 pounds with interconnected trailers and trucks.  An additional 160,000 pounds of towing equipment was required to reach the top of the Lewiston Grade.

Moscow environmental group Wild Idaho Rising Tide is expected to be waiting for the megaload in downtown near City Hall tonight, to demonstrate against the shipment – and its purpose.

(By The Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

Biggest Megaload Never!


Protest Places & Tentative Times

Lewiston: Sunday, August 10, 9 pm: Arrive at the park/boat launch at Frontage Road and Steelhead Way, before the convoy closes Frontage Road, and expect to move to multiple locations as the megaload progresses.  Carpools depart from Third and Washington streets in Moscow at 8 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/BG4dt).

Moscow: Monday, August 11, 10 pm: Meet at Third and Washington streets outside Moscow City Hall.  Although this venue attracts too much police presence, it endures as the defacto megaload protest location.  The gargantuan load mounted the Lewiston grade and parked at Highway 95 milepost 320 at 2 am on Sunday night and will likely cross Moscow before midnight on Monday night (http://goo.gl/maps/4x0BQ).

Plummer: Wednesday, August 13, 10 pm: Converge outside the Warpath, before the Bigge megaload likely crosses Plummer at 11 pm or midnight.  Carpools from the Palouse region depart Third and Washington Streets in Moscow at 9 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/G5IV8).

Coeur d’Alene: Wednesday/Thursday, August 13-14: Come to the corner of West Linden Avenue and Lincoln Way at a time and date (early Thursday morning?) to be announced.  Carpools from the Palouse region depart Third and Washington Streets in Moscow at 9 pm on Wednesday (http://goo.gl/maps/0WWbv).

Sandpoint: Thursday, August 14, 5 pm & 10 pm: Assemble at 5 pm for a community meeting in Sandpoint Library rooms 103 and 104, and at 10 pm outside the Conoco gas station on East Superior Street, before the Calumet megaload crosses the Long Bridge at 11 pm, midnight, or later (http://goo.gl/maps/ryQLa).

Hope: Friday, August 15, 6 pm & Sunday, August 17, 9 pm: Bring your friends, family, and protest signs and gather at 6 pm on Friday for a community meeting in the upstairs room of the Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, and at 9 pm on Sunday outside the Old Ice House Pizzeria, to monitor and protest the last 18 miles of this Alberta tar sands/Bakken shale oil infrastructure onslaught through Idaho (http://goo.gl/maps/EMz00).

Swan Lake: Sunday, August 24, 9:30 pm: Gather by 9:30 pm at the south end of the lakeside Swan Lake Day Use Area parking lot on the west side of Montana Highway 83, about one mile northwest of the town of Swan Lake (http://goo.gl/maps/zt3nf) [3].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 7:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Expect to monitor the convoy and move to multiple protest locations, such as Condon and Seeley Lake, as the megaload progresses.

Clearwater Junction: Monday, August 25, 9:30 pm: Meet at 9:30 pm at the Clearwater Rest Area at the Clearwater Junction of Montana Highway 200 milepost 32 and Montana Highway 83 (http://goo.gl/maps/TKy7N) [4].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 8:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Anticipate additional megaload monitoring along Highway 200 and protests in Lincoln and other places along the route.

Lincoln & Great Falls: Tuesday, August 26, 9 pm: Arrive by 9 pm at the Aspen Grove Campground about six miles east of Lincoln on a short access road off the south side of Montana Highway 200 (http://goo.gl/maps/8SqDf) [5].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 7:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Monitors will follow the load and protest its arrival at the Great Falls Calumet refinery during the to-be-announced early morning hours of Wednesday, August 27 (http://goo.gl/maps/42HfG).

After eight anxious months and the usual last-minute fiasco to deter legal and physical resistance, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) issued a permit for Bigge Crane and Rigging Company early on Friday afternoon, August 8 [1].  The San Leandro, California-based company plans to haul an up to 1,086,000-pound piece of Great Falls, Montana, refinery equipment across northern Idaho over four to five nights, after departing the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington, at 10 pm on Sunday, August 10.  The bottom, lightest, one-foot wider section of a hydrocracker, which would assist in tripling tar sands production at the Montana Refining Company owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners, measures 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 16 feet, 8 inches high and weighs 926,000 pounds with interconnected trailers and trucks, when additional pull and push trucks are not powering the transport [2].  Accompanied by Idaho State Police, flaggers, and pilot vehicles every night between 10 pm and 5:30 am, the heaviest and longest shipment to (n)ever cross the region can move at speeds between 5 and 35 miles per hour.  It would enter Idaho from the eastern Washington port on Idaho Highway 128, and move north on U.S. Highway 95 up the Lewiston grade, avoiding the bridge over U.S. Highway 195 by briefly sidetracking under the bridge into Washington (with a permit?) and back into Idaho against off-ramp traffic.  After journeying through Moscow, Plummer, and Coeur d’Alene and crossing the two-mile Long Bridge to Sandpoint, the megaload would travel east to Montana on Idaho Highway 200, the federally designated Pend Oreille Scenic Byway with possible weight restrictions and load limits for the lake shore road partially built on fill material [3].  By Idaho law throughout the trip, the convoy must limit the traffic delays of two-lane blockage to 15 minutes, by notifying the transport driver of approaching and trailing vehicles and pulling off the roadway to let them pass.

In less than a Friday hour after ITD’s announcement, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) responded to three ITD offices, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in Boise, and the Idaho Attorney General, alerting them to a formal WIRT petition filed by the 5 pm MDT close of the business day.  The petition requests an immediate stay and reconsideration of ITD’s permit issuance to Bigge only days before it hauls its oversize shipment across northern Idaho [4-6].  By describing the many potential hazards to public safety, convenience, and road and bridge infrastructure that this megaload would impose, the petition outlines ITD’s subsequent violations of the U.S. Fourteenth Amendment and Idaho rules governing open public meetings, overlegal permits, and ITD operating objectives, as explained by Moscow community radio comprehensive coverage and a WIRT interview about the Calumet refinery megaload saga [7].  Wild Idaho Rising Tide did not receive explicitly requested acknowledgement of WIRT petition receipt from ITD, FHWA, and the attorney general on Friday, although the biggest ever megaload could roll before normal ITD business hours on Monday.  But a local reporter noted that, “ITD spokesman Adam Rush said his agency was prepared to receive a petition seeking to halt the shipment and that the matter would be considered over the weekend, before the shipment could legally leave the Port of Wilma…  If the WIRT petition isn’t granted, the megaload shipment could pass through Moscow late Sunday or early Monday” [8].  Whether any state officials bother to notify the petitioning group of their decision or just continue to dismiss it as collateral damage on the roadside to ruin remains uncertain.

Monitor & Protest! Continue reading

Petition Requesting a Stay and Reconsideration of Permit Issuance

From: Wild Idaho Rising Tide <wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com>

Date: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Subject: Re: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

To: John Perry <idaho.fhwa@fhwa.dot.gov>, Brent Inghram <brent.inghram@dot.gov>, ITD Director Brian Ness <brian.ness@itd.idaho.gov>, Reymundo Rodriguez <reymundo.rodriguez@itd.idaho.gov>, Jason Minzghor <jason.minzghor@itd.idaho.gov>, Doral Hoff <doral.hoff@itd.idaho.gov>, ITD Public Affairs Specialist Adam Rush <adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Cc: Natalie Havlina <havlinalaw@gmail.com>, Scott Reed <scottwreed@frontier.com>

Petition Requesting a Stay and Reconsideration of Permit Issuance 8-8-14

(IDAPA Petitions)  (IDAPA 39.03.09 Overlegal Permits)


From: Wild Idaho Rising Tide <wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com>

Date: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Subject: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

To: John Perry <idaho.fhwa@fhwa.dot.gov>, Brent Inghram <brent.inghram@dot.gov>, ITD Director Brian Ness <brian.ness@itd.idaho.gov>, Reymundo Rodriguez <reymundo.rodriguez@itd.idaho.gov>, Jason Minzghor <jason.minzghor@itd.idaho.gov>, Doral Hoff <doral.hoff@itd.idaho.gov>, ITD Public Affairs Specialist Adam Rush <adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Mr. Wasden, Mr. Perry, Mr. Inghram, Mr. Ness, Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Minzghor, Mr. Hoff, and all,

Wild Idaho Rising Tide anticipates filing a formal petition requesting a stay and reconsideration of Idaho Transportation Department issuance of this permit to Bigge Crane and Rigging, submitted by the 5 pm MDT close of business today, August 8, 2014.  We would appreciate your acknowledgement of your receipt of this message and this forthcoming petition.

Helen Yost

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843



From: “Adam Rush” <Adam.Rush@itd.idaho.gov>

To: “Adam Rush” <Adam.Rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Sent: Friday, August 8, 2014 12:51:35 PM

Subject: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

8/8/2014 Continue reading