Ohio law enforcement links Erin Brokovich to potential for ‘special interest terrorism’ threat in East Palestine

Activist Erin Brockovich poses at her house In Agoura Hills, Calif., on March 16, 2021. (Valerie Macon/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

Ohio regulation enforcement issued a report late final month warning that occasions deliberate in East Palestine by the environmental activist Erin Brockovich may immediate a terrorist menace from violent extremists, based on an intelligence bulletin obtained by Yahoo Information.

Dated Feb. 24 and distributed to regulation enforcement companies by the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS), the Ohio Statewide Terrorism Evaluation & Crime Heart Terrorism Evaluation Unit Situational Consciousness [STACC TAU] report obtained by Yahoo Information “assesses that particular curiosity extremist teams will proceed to name for modifications in governmental coverage, which can result in protests in/round East Palestine and/or on the Statehouse in Columbus.”

The report then singles out the response by Brockovich, a whistleblower who helped construct a profitable lawsuit towards the California utility firm Pacific Fuel and Electrical in a case involving contaminated groundwater, to the Feb. 3 practice derailment and launch of poisonous chemical substances in East Palestine.

“On 24 February, environmental activist Erin BrockovichUSPER [United States person] is scheduled to be in East Palestine to elucidate residents’ authorized rights. Brokovich has urged the neighborhood to make use of frequent sense and ask questions. Brockovich can be inserting blame solely on Norfolk Southern.The STACC TAU assess this occasion may doubtlessly improve tensions inside the neighborhood.”

The report assesses the danger posed by Brockovich and different activist teams which have deliberate occasions in East Palestine within the wake of the Norfolk Southern practice derailment and the managed burn of vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic ingredient used within the manufacturing of plastic merchandise after the derailment.

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“In keeping with the FBI, particular curiosity terrorism differs from conventional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist particular curiosity teams search to resolve particular points, moderately than impact widespread political change,” the report states. “Such extremists conduct acts of politically motivated violence to pressure segments of society, together with most people, to vary attitudes about points thought of vital to the extremists’ trigger.”

An aerial shot shows about a dozen rail cars, packed together and still smoking, after the derailment.

Drone footage reveals the freight practice derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 6. (NTSB Gov/Handout by way of Reuters)

Brockovich, who was performed by the actress Julia Roberts within the 2000 movie named after her, was in East Palestine on Thursday afternoon to host an occasion. She didn’t instantly reply to Yahoo Information’ request for remark.

This situational consciousness report is very problematic, mentioned former FBI agent Mike German, who labored on a current Brennan Heart report about points with DHS fusion facilities.

“Clearly, there isn’t a cause to have included Erin Brockovich’s title or an outline of her advocacy in a regulation enforcement intelligence report, a lot much less a ‘situational consciousness’ report by a state fusion heart’s terrorism evaluation unit,” German informed Yahoo Information. “Nearly the entire exercise described on this report is rightly protected by the First Modification and poses no menace of hurt, and due to this fact needs to be of no curiosity to terrorism intelligence models.”

Contacted by Yahoo Information, the Ohio Division of Public Security denied that it had issued a report figuring out Brockovich as a potential terrorist menace.

“Erin Brokovich is listed as an ‘environmental activist’ and the temporary point out of her falls below the heading of ‘numerous people or teams have responded to the practice derailment,’” the Ohio Division of Public Security’s Jay Carey informed Yahoo Information in an e-mail. “The truth that she is an ‘environmental activist’ that has ‘responded to the practice derailment’ is factual and has been properly documented by media accounts. Any inference in any other case is wrong.”

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DHS posted the report on its intelligence sharing platform on Feb. 28, making it out there to its greater than 150,000 native, state and federal police and different companions nationwide.

“Fusion Facilities are state and domestically owned and operated facilities that actively share, analyze, and operationalize threat-related data between federal, state, native, tribal, territorial, and personal sector companions,” a DHS spokesperson mentioned in an emailed assertion to Yahoo Information. “DHS helps Fusion Facilities by the presence of DHS personnel and knowledge sharing expertise, however DHS doesn’t run or function Fusion Facilities.”

The report additionally referred to the environmental group Earthjustice, which, it acknowledged “known as on Governor DeWineUSPER to declare a state of emergency,” pointing to the “contaminated waterways” and subsequent deaths of 1000’s of fish.

In an auditorium filled with people, Erin Brockovich sits in one of the front rows speaking to residents.

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, proper entrance, speaks to involved residents because the host of a city corridor assembly at East Palestine Excessive College on Thursday. (Michael Swensen/Getty Photographs)

“Earthjustice works with communities throughout the nation to guard folks’s well being,” Debbie Chizewer, managing legal professional for Earthjustice’s Midwest Regional workplace, informed Yahoo Information.

“In East Palestine, Earthjustice is supporting companions which have been uncovered to poisonous chemical substances as they name for a lot wanted sources, monitoring, cleanup of the contamination, in addition to protections to forestall disasters just like the explosion of a chemical-carrying cargo practice sooner or later.”

The report obtained by Yahoo Information acknowledged that East Palestine police and hearth division officers reported having obtained threats however had decided they weren’t credible. It was not clear, nonetheless, why they have been talked about within the report.

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“This report mustn’t have described any noncriminal exercise, significantly after it acknowledged that the terrorism evaluation unit is ‘unaware of any credible direct threats concerning the East Palestine practice derailment,’” German mentioned. “This flawed reporting solely clogs our nationwide intelligence networks with inappropriate supplies that undermine efficient counterterrorism and regulation enforcement evaluation, by overwhelming intelligence analysts with unhelpful misinformation that dulls the response to real menace warnings.”

Former DHS Appearing Undersecretary John Cohen agreed that the inclusion of Brockovich’s title was, as he put it, “a bit problematic,” and mentioned that regulation enforcement wanted to be extra cautious in describing what’s and isn’t thought of a menace.

“When reporting on on-line or different exercise which may be protected speech, authorities have to be very clear how that speech pertains to threat-related actions or different public questions of safety,” Cohen informed Yahoo Information. “It’s nice to catalog what totally different individuals are saying, however from a regulation enforcement perspective, they have to be clear the place there’s a nexus with the necessity for an operational response.”