Sunday, December 15, 2019

A REVIEW OF “OVER A BARREL” (DOCUMENTARY)



S.M.Elliott THE SKEPTICAL CINEPHILE: 

A REVIEW OF “OVER A BARREL” (DOCUMENTARY) 
Citizen Free News: In September of 2019, Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced the establishment of a public inquiry into the sources of funding behind anti-pipeline activism in the province, as well as the opening of a digital tipline to which citizens can report suspected instances of foreign funding of such activism. 

It was a bizarre and costly decision to open this inquiry, because it is in no way unlawful (or unusual) for environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) to work across borders. They deal with oceans, wetlands, wildlife and other things that exist all over the planet, so their conservation and education efforts are definitely not going to remain localized. However, a primary mandate of the inquiry is to determine if U.S. money has gone toward disseminating misleading or erroneous information about Alberta’s oil industry that would amount to defamation. We’ll see where that path leads. 

The inquiry wasn’t a surprising move on Kenney’s part. For months he had been talking about a conspiracy against Alberta oil. Even his acceptance speech of April 16, 2019, contained a dark warning to environmentalists: “To the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Tides Foundation, Lead Now, the David Suzuki Foundation and all of the others: Your days of pushing around Albertans with impunity just ended.” 

 His reference to the Tides Foundation unnerved me, because back in 2010, when Glenn Beck was enjoying the peak of his popularity on Fox News, he devoted a considerable amount of airtime to “exposing” George Soros’s funding of the Tides Foundation, which led to one disgruntled viewer heading for Tides Foundation headquarters with a carload of automatic weapons, intending to wipe out as many employees as he could. Thankfully, he was intercepted before he reached San Francisco. 

As it turned out, Soros contributed just 5% of the foundation’s annual funding at that time and in no way had control of it, as Beck implied. 

So it made me uneasy to hear similar talk from the mouth of Alberta’s freshly elected premier. I was also troubled by the fact that his words were inspired by the work of just one person, Canadian researcher Vivian Krause. For several years, Krause has been compiling evidence that the non-profit organizations Kenney mentioned in his speech – and numerous others – have been pouring money into their Canadian counterparts in order to fight the development of new pipelines in Canada, with the goal of landlocking Alberta’s tar sands. 

Over a Barrel is Krause’s research in documentary form. I saw the Edmonton premiere of this film and the chaotic Q&A that followed yesterday afternoon. 

It is not a shocking film. There is nothing particularly controversial in Krause’s basic findings. No one disputes that Canadian ENGOs receive funding from U.S. ENGOs and charitable organizations. We all know that there has been strident opposition to tar sands development and the construction and expansion of oil pipelines in Canada. 

Where Krause – and perhaps Kenney – seem to go wrong is in where they place the blame for the failure of Alberta oil. 

Krause believes the negative attention being paid to the tar sands is out of all proportion with anti-oil activism in other parts of the world, particularly the U.S. This can come across as a persecution complex when her examples are not timely. For instance, in Over a Barrel, she points to California drilling platforms situated near public beaches. Why is no one opposing that?, she asks. Well, for one thing, many of the companies that own offshore drilling platforms in California are suffering financially. Venoco, the owner of one platform, declared bankruptcy in 2017 and the platform has ceased operations. Rigs like this are going to be re-purposed or dismantled in the near future because no one wants to take them on.  
Over a Barrel takes hard aim at the Tar Sands Campaign, which Krause characterizes as a slick, mostly American operation, the brainchild of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Hewlett Foundation and the Tides Foundation. That is not the case. The Tar Sands Campaign originated in Canada. 

But that’s not the biggest problem with Over a Barrel casting the TSC as one of its supervillains. By all accounts exept its own, the TSC has dwindled to insignificance since 2015 and was never a major player in oilsands activism, anyway. Krause and the filmmaker of Over a Barrel are giving the initiative far too much credit. 

Over a Barrel asks another one of Krause’s favourite questions: If Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions contribute just 1.6% to total global emissions, why is opposition to the tar sands still a thing? She can’t comprehend why American oil is booming while Alberta oil is busting, skirting the fact that the bitumen being dredged from Alberta’s tar sands is more expensive to refine than any other form of oil and simply isn’t as appealing to investors and consumers as regular oil. 

Krause and Kenney both maintain that David Suzuki and other environmental activists have spread lies and misinformation about Canadian oil. None of these alleged lies or factoids are even mentioned in Over a Barrel. 

Krause’s work has focused on U.S. funding of Canadian environmental activism because she believes that without that funding and support, Canadians would be mostly (if not totally) okay with pipelines. She frequently points out that Canadians weren’t even talking about oil pipelines a decade ago. They were “out of sight, out of mind.” We didn’t care. 



The truth is, though, that the world is turning away from the troubled industry that is oil. We know that it has a limited future. We want to move on. We want to try other things. The opposition to the tar sands and pipeline projects, both within Canada and in the U.S., merely reflects a larger trend. 

Krause contends that Canada both needs and deserves to stay competitive in the global oil market, free from the tyranny of U.S. oil interests. She presents oil as the only possible solution to poverty in First Nations communities, and Ellis Ross (a British Columbia MLA featured prominently in the film) suggested during the Q&A that oil jobs will somehow magically reduce suicide rates among First Nations youth. 

Krause and Over a Barrel argue that the primary obstacle to pipeline development is environmental activism. In Krause’s view, the Alberta government should pursue legal action against the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for providing funds to ENGOs that have played roles in Canadian elections and oil-related policy making. Yet even Krause admitted, during the Q&A, that the only way forward is to “break the American monopoly.” 

Over a Barrel in no way addresses how on Earth this might be accomplished. If Big Oil is still one of the most formidable forces in the world and can still accomplish almost anything, what chance does Alberta stand against it? If the U.S. doesn’t want Alberta oil to get to overseas markets, then it won’t get there. Period. 

In the end, Krause’s foreign-funding research as encapsulated in Over a Barrel is an intriguing distraction from the truth: 

Alberta oil is hooped. 

It is landlocked. It is dirtier and more costly to refine than other oil. The oil industry is in the early stages of its death throes, and people don’t want to be clawed back into it with dodgy investments. The world is starting to look forward to (hopefully) cleaner energy. U.S. oil interests have begun to edge away from Canadian oil and are content to buy it up on the cheap. 

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and David Suzuki didn’t create any of these issues, so stifling their concerns with costly litigation isn’t going to resolve a single problem that Alberta oil faces. This looks more like a problem of Big Oil (Alberta) vs. Bigger Oil (the U.S.), and Alberta is not going to win that match. 

It is time to prepare ourselves for the end of Alberta oil. We’re not there yet. But we’ll be there soon.


YouTube Strike One! 
Over a Barrel Filmmaker Contradicts 
Over a Barrel Emcee  Ryan Jespersen. 
Over a barrel filmmaker made this copyright claim against me causing YouTube to remove my 20 minute Q&A YouTube after 168 views and 6 thumbs up.  YouTube placed a strike against me and my YouTube account as punishment regardless the filmmaker's Over The Barrel host Ryan Jesperson of 630 CHED allowed filming of the Q&A open forum and encouraged audience members afterwards to use social media to get the message out.  



Excerpt Q&A Hosted by 630 CHED Radio Talk Show Ryan Jespersen

S.M.Elliott is author of 
Facts + Logic = Truth

Letters
Love it. Thanks for the level headed truth. If more people would actually research before buying into this BS, the future would be bright. - Ryan

An anonymous author, with no knowledge of the O&G industry, referring derogatorily to the oil sands (bitumen in sand) as “tar sands”, and casually telling readers that Alberta oil is at the end. The anonymous author uses something called gaslighting to discredit their opponent with no facts or figures given….no charts….no graphs…..uses group identity techniques to justify their opinion….and that is all this ridiculous, hateful, ignorant article is….a trashy opinion from a trashy writer! - Darren Hiebert

Three things: I am not anonymous. My name is S.M. Elliott. This is a film review, not an exhaustive point-by-point examination of energy or job creation. When was the last time you saw a chart or a graph in a film review? I do not “hate” oil and gas. - S.M. Elliott 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Jason Kenney really appreciated the story behind my painting so I handed him the painting straight off the easel and said "what better man to have this painting, but a man who understands and appreciates its story" all the while thinking to myself "this guy could very well become our next Premier of Alberta."

Citizen Free News Photo, Doug Brinkman, Idle No More flash mob, City center mall. 
Edmonton Mayor candidate, anti pipeline activist Taz Bouchier

EDMONTON November 26, 2016 CBC: A group of Edmontonians have set up a camp downtown in a gesture of solidarity for the demonstrators at Standing Rock in North Dakota. About 15 people have put up several tents in Churchill Square. They camped overnight Thursday and were gathered around a fire Friday. "We're encouraging everyone to come here with goodwill and to pray for each other," said Anthony Muller, a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation in Wabasca who is in Edmonton for school studies. Those huddled around the fire said it was an important statement considering what people protesting the Dakota Access pipeline have been going through. While demonstrators in North Dakota who have been protesting the pipeline say they have been peaceful, they have been met with police in riot gear. Repeated reports of police using pepper spray and other controversial tactics have emerged in the standoff, which began in April. Taz Bouchier was inspired to organize the Edmonton prayer camp after spending time in North Dakota where she was invited to give spiritual support to the Standing Rock demonstrators. "The most affected I felt was the terror I saw in people's eyes," Bouchier said, describing the actions of the U.S. authorities as "brutal." Opponents to the multi-billion dollar pipeline believe it's a threat to Indigenous land and to the Missouri River which is the main water supply for the nearby Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Garnet Borch, who slept in one of the tents in Churchill Square Thursday, went with Bouchier on her trip to Standing Rock. He didn't witness any violence during his five days at the camp, but said he felt empowered by the strength of the people on the front lines and wanted to be part of the Edmonton prayer camp as a result. "We're standing up for this," he said. "We're not just sitting at home sharing Facebook feeds or whatever, we're out here actually doing something." Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation at Glenevis, 90 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, issued a statement on the North Dakota protests Wednesday. Alexis said he is disturbed to hear "over 300 people have been seriously injured" while peacefully protesting there. The camp in Churchill Square was set up at 8 a.m. Thursday. It will be taken down at 8 a.m. Saturday to make way for other events. A spokesperson for the City of Edmonton said the city is aware of the camp, describing Churchill Square as a free gathering space. The people taking part said police had dropped by several times to ask how things were going, telling them to call if any help was needed. They said other people walking in Churchill Square had been supportive, with many stopping by to offer support or ask questions about the issue. Bouchier, who was also part of a recent flash mob round dance in west Edmonton Mall, said the stance against pipelines is also relevant in Canada, with several proposals on the table. She said Indigenous leaders here have similar concerns about their environmental impact. For now though, Bouchier remains focused on Standing Rock. She said she will head back next month to again stand alongside demonstrators.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Jason Kenney really appreciated the story behind my painting so I handed him the painting straight off the easel and said "what better man to have this painting, but a man who understands and appreciates its story" all the while thinking to myself "this guy could very well become our next Premier of Alberta."



EDMONTON November 2016: When I learned that local political activists were planning a 3 day and night prayer camp/protest in solidarity with the anti pipeline protest at Standing Rock, North Dakota U.S.A, I got out my pencils, sketch pad, canvases, cameras and set up an easel close by the protest from outside the perimeter of the camp to observe and report a news story on canvas and later on YouTube. Activists from the camp told me I was not permitted inside the camp to take pictures during ceremonies but only CBC Edmonton and the protesters were only allowed by the organizers to take photos. I learned later the City of Edmonton did not approve this camp with a permit or a permit for the open fire that was maintained 3 days and nights by the protesters. Limbs from park trees were hacked off and used to fuel the fire on the first day but later trucks were used to haul in cords of wood after police questioned protesters after receiving complaints that someone was spotted from the camp cutting city park trees. I remained outside the camp during the 3 days inside Sir Winston Churchill Square sketching, taking pictures and painting. Sometimes activists would come and watch me paint, take pictures of me at work and at one time the leader of the Communist Party of Alberta brought me over some cookies that she had baked for other activist friends inside the camp. On the final day the camp was taken down I had completed my painting, packed up my stuff and went home. Along the way I crossed paths with Jason Kenney, a former politician of the Harper Government. He and his friends had just come from attending a candlelight vigil for the Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомо́р) next to City Hall and Sir Winston Churchill square. Jason said the vigil was disrupted by a couple political activists shouting obscenities at the attendees while carrying placards into the crowd. The Holodomor vigil Jason and his friends had attended was adjacent to the prayer/protest camp in solidarity with #StandingRock so we wondered then if perhaps the same activists from inside the prayer camp were the same activists who upstaged the Ukrainian candlelight vigil. Prayer camp activist and communist party leader later confirmed to me that it was she and another communist friend who disrupted the Holodomor vigil and were glad they did so claiming the Holodomor was a lie. Jason Kenney and his friends were the first to hear the news story behind my freshly painted Water and Oil is Life- Non Violence. Jason really appreciated the story so I handed him the painting straight off the easel saying "what better man to have this painting, but a man who understands and appreciates its story" all the while thinking to myself "this guy could very well become our next Premier of Alberta."

Jason Kenney went on to become the leader of the Conservative party of Alberta and then joined forces with the Honorable Brian Jean, leader of her Majesty's official opposition party the Wildrose create the newly formed United Conservative Party of Alberta. Jason won the leadership of the United Conservative Party of Alberta and was sworn in as MLA January 30, 2018. 


2018 Womans March: Later the Alberta Communist Leader Naomi Rankin admitted on YouTube disrupting the Holodomor that the Hon. Jason Kenney had attended (Ukrainian: Голодомо́р) next to City Hall November 2016, claiming conspiracies and Nazi propaganda. During the 2017 Holodomor memorial inside Edmonton City Hall Mayor Don Iveson refereed to the 2016 act by communist activists a display of hate. YouTube


Interview with Alberta Communist Leader Naomi Rankin during 2018 Womans March

Friday, November 25, 2016

Defending Free Press led me to defend Freedom of Expression


Days later after the camp closed the organizer and leader of the anti pipeline prayer/protest camp Taz Bouchier became angry that I had painted and published a YouTube about the camp and asked other activists not to watch my YouTube about her anti-pipeline protest. 

Photo by Doug Brinkman for Citizen Free News 

Of course I did not have permission or need permission by the Edmonton Police Service or the City of Edmonton because I already had the right to freely express myself with art in a public square as any Canadian can and I also had the right as everyone does in Canada freedom of the press, media as guaranteed by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Taz lied to the City of Edmonton and lied to the Edmonton Police service. 
Photo by Doug Brinkman for Citizen Free News 


March 2019 #ClimateStrike - Nigel Henri Robinson's Call To Arms #NoPipelines 
Nigel Henri Robinson (top) has his own radio show at the University of Alberta's CJSR. 

Michelle Robinson, a political activist  and conspiracy theorist who has in past supported Lethbridge University's Professor Anthony Hall conspiracy theory of Israel's involvement with the 9/11 attacks and worked with Hall to have fluoride removed from Calgary city water . Robinson ran for Calgary City Council in 2017 . 
2019-03-22 Michelle is currently running as a candidate for the Liberal Party in Calgary East/ Alberta Provincial Election. 

G.A. Salvador (bottom) Is a long time activist with Edmonton's IWW Wobbles and was the man holding the hatchet in his hands next to a pile of tree branches when the Edmonton Police Service questioned the G.A. about a complaint they had received of someone cutting trees inside Sir Winston Churchill Square. 


Photo by Doug Brinkman for Citizen Free News 
Taz Bouchier's first ban came in 2014 after the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation - Alberta National Event because I refused her editorial control over my news stories on my YouTube. She argued then that my viewers all thought Mayor Don Iveson was getting all the credit for organizing a march from the Shaw Conference center to the Alberta Legislature grounds and that it was she who organized the march after she received a vision in a dream from her creator. 


Weeks later a City employee for some mysterious reason came up to me during the early evening of December 31, 2016 New Years Eve while I was showing a painting from my 2016 Fire and Rain art project, depicting the Fort McMurray wildfires outside the City Hall' and threatened me with police action if I did not leave with my painting. The City Manager said "We know who you are, you were not invited, you will have to leave." I was showing my painting next to the ice rink where I had painted my first painting 12 months earlier depicting the wildfires of Alberta. When I refused to leave she threatened me with police action. ​ I complained to the EPS that night of being bullied by this City employee and they suggested I complain to the City of Edmonton. So I did by staging a 36 day picket/protest against the City of Edmonton beginning January 3, 2017 until March 10, 2017 demanding the The City of Edmonton put it in writing why I could not freely express myself with art on public property when it's guaranteed in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms that I can. 



YouTube by Doug Brinkman for Citizen Free News 

On The Picket-Line: Twice a CBC reporter showed up and tried to talk be out of the picket as did an angry Councillor Scott McKeen who yelled at me "GIVE IT UP!" Scott later apologized the next day for his outburst. 

Editorial Cartoon by Doug Brinkman for Citizen Free News 

March 10, 2017 The City of Edmonton apologized to me for the threats of police action made on New Years Eve. 2016 and I'm now permitted to paint and show my art in front of City Hall so long as I check in with City Management. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014 Truth and Reconciliation - Alberta National Event

Photo March 30, 2014: Mayor Don Iveson next to Taz Bouchier
Photo by Doug Brinkman for Citizen Free News 

From March 27-30, 2014 the historical Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Alberta National Event took place in Edmonton. After the closing of the TRC, I had filmed much of the 3 day proceedings inside the Shaw Conference center that included speeches, interviews and outside following a march to the Alberta Legislature for a final rally on the steps. Controversy soon followed my news reporting when elder Taz Bouchier called me up one evening and requested I take down all my TRC videos and re-publish them with her name credited for organizing the march to the Legislature. She complained that Mayor Don Iveson was getting all the credit with his role with the TRC and she had some political interests of her own to consider. I refused her editorial control over my news stories so Taz called for a complete ban watching my YouTubes through social media. Around November, 2016 I again refused her call for editorial control after I reported on a 3 day prayer camp in solidarity with the Dakota's Key-stone pipeline protest that she organized inside Sir Winston Churchill Square. In the fall of 2017 Taz Bouchier ran for political office against Don Iveson for Mayor of Edmonton.


Mom got her voice today TRC- March to the Legislature
YouTube by Doug Brinkman for Citizen Free News