Tag Archives: 90s

Local Canadian Terrorist – B.C. pipeline bombings raise fears from public at community meeting


DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — As members of the RCMP’s national terrorism unit continued to gather evidence at the sites of two gas pipeline bombings in northeastern B.C. this weekend, other officers met with about 200 frightened citizens at a public gathering.

“There is an ongoing amount of concern and definitely a certain level of fear that has been expressed from the public,” said Sgt. Tim Shields.

“This event was an opportunity for the RCMP to explain what is going on with the investigation and to provide a forum for the community to ask questions of the police and EnCana.”

The pipeline operator and police officers met with residents in a hall at the tiny nearby community of Tomslake.

Eric Kuenzl of Tomslake, B.C., was at the meeting at the school in the hamlet near the Alberta boundary.

He says people in the area aren’t venturing out unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“People are on edge. They’re scared,” Kuenzl told The Canadian Press. “They want answers. The meeting was designed to give direction. They ironed out a few things . . . as far as flying over with choppers and looking with infra-red to make sure there’s no other bombs.”

“That makes me feel a little safer.”

Kuenzl was critical, however, of officials locking children in the Tomslake school when news of the bombing came out.

He says the community sits in a low-lying area and the heavy gas from the pipeline could have killed youngsters locked in a school.

“They put all the kids inside and then they closed all the ducts and everything. It’s like building a giant coffin,” Kuenzl said.

“Why wouldn’t you just load them up in the bus and get ’em the hell out of here. I think I’d be safer on the roof of my house than I would be inside my house.”

Meanwhile, members of the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit and the RCMP National Post Blast Team continue their work at the blast sites.

“Personnel are continuing to conduct a thorough search of the blast area and the surrounding debris field,” said Shields.

“Essentially, these individuals are combing the area looking for any item that is out of place and could provide a clue to investigators. This can include anything from a footprint to a piece of the explosive that was used.”

It’s not yet clear what motivated two attacks on pipelines near Dawson Creek, the first last weekend and the second Wednesday night.

Police believe they’re linked to a letter sent to local media last week calling oil and gas companies “terrorists” that are “endangering our families.”

People living in and around Dawson Creek are quick to condemn the explosions, but they also say the region’s burgeoning oilpatch has had a sometimes uneasy relationship with its neighbours.

In both cases, the pipelines were owned by EnCana (TSX:ECA). The first pipeline did not rupture but the second explosion caused a small leak, one the company said was quickly contained.

The RCMP explosives unit was also at the site Friday, trying to find out what happened, said Shields.

“They will be in the process of recreating the blast in order to determine what type of material was used, how it was used and to gather evidence,” he said.

Terrorism expert John Thompson said the fact the bombings weren’t preceded by other incidents of protest and vandalism suggests they’re likely the work of one or two people working alone rather than organized environmental groups mounting a broader campaign.

“This also suggests that this is a small, amateurish effort by community activists,” said Thompson, president of the Toronto-based Mackenzie Institute.

“It’s either somebody who is particularly torqued off by the oil and gas industry specifically, or someone who is self-actualized as a radical environmentalist with their own strange ideas about how to fight.”

The bombings have brought back memories of Wiebo Ludwig, an Alberta farmer who spent nearly two years in prison on charges related to oilpatch bombing and vandalism in the 1990s.

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Open source in a time of recession


No one questions the fact of recession any more, although we have yet to confirm a single quarter without growth, let alone two. Tech hates recessions, even though tech booms start at the bottom of them. The PC boom emerged from the bottom of a recession in the early 80s, and the Internet boom from another in the early 90s.

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Foreclosures and the Credit Crunch in America: Did God Want You to Get That Mortgage?


By David Van Biema

Pulpit Pimps

Pulpit Pimps

Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God will “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in Pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York: “The pastor’s not gonna say, ‘Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,’ but I have heard, ‘Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house or that car or that apartment.’ ” Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘If you give this offering, God will give you a house.’ And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.” If so, the situation offers a look at how a native-born faith built partially on American economic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.

Although a type of Pentecostalism, Prosperity theology adds a distinctive layer of supernatural positive thinking. Adherents will reap rewards if they prove their faith to God by contributing heavily to their churches, remaining mentally and verbally upbeat and concentrating on divine promises of worldly bounty supposedly strewn throughout the Bible. Critics call it a thinly disguised pastor-enrichment scam. Other experts, like Walton, note that for all its faults, the theology can empower people who have been taught to see themselves as financially or even culturally useless to feel they are “worthy of having more and doing more and being more.” In some cases the philosophy has matured with its practitioners, encouraging good financial habits and entrepreneurship.

But Walton suggests that a decade’s worth of ever easier credit acted like a drug in Prosperity’s bloodstream. “The economic boom ’90s and financial overextensions of the new millennium contributed to the success of the Prosperity message,” he wrote recently. And not positively. “Narratives of how ‘God blessed me with my first house despite my credit’ were common. Sermons declaring ‘It’s your season to overflow’ supplanted messages of economic sobriety,” and “little attention was paid to … the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM to subsidize cars, clothes and vacations.”

With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that Prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and they are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks some of the flashier ministries will shrink along with their congregants’ fortunes. Says Walton: “You would think that the current economic conditions would undercut their theology.” But he predicts they will persevere, since God’s earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.

A recent publicly posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God, near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation — it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on Scriptural promises of God. But the believer’s note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. “Last Sunday,” it read, “You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1,020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace.”

And pray that the credit market doesn’t tighten any further.

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