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

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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