Koch Industries recently released a statement via the Wichita Eagle. Director of corporate communication for Koch Companies Public Sector, Melissa Cohlmia, wrote this article which was published by the Eagle the day before the Occupy Koch Town weekend of demonstrations, taking place now, were to begin. In addition, Charles Koch, owner of the privately held conglomerate, released emailed death threats the company has received in past months, also the day before the demonstrations began.
The story about the emails was the most read story on the Eagle’s website that day. The story went on to talk to about the Occupy Koch Town demonstrations, seemingly linking Occupy Wichita, which is one of several groups coordinating the events, and others to the threats. Occupy Wichita has made no such threats and no one has accused our group of doing so. Furthermore, we condemn these and any other threats. We are a non-violent group, which we should not have to state, considering we have never been accused of violent behavior.
Koch Industries says we are lying about their stake in the pipeline and they timed the release of the threatening emails, many of which were likely sent before the Occupy movement began, in a dishonest attempt to link these threats to peaceful demonstrators.
This is our response to Koch Industries as well as to some of the comments posted on the articles:
We wish the employees of Koch Industries no ill-will. We in no way seek to threaten their jobs or their reputations. Just as the Koch brothers have the right to use their wealth to promote their ideas, we have the same right, minus the wealth. I am with Occupy Wichita, and we have been given no $26 million. We have less than $200 in an account we never use. Occupy Wichita has been operating since October and we have not done any of the things that many of the comments on this and other articles accuse us of doing.
Congressman Harry Waxman and Reuters news service both state the Koch brothers stand to profit substantially from the pipeline. Koch Industries has refused to send a representative to testify on this issue, as requested by Rep. Waxman.
The tar sands oil which will flow through this pipeline is highly corrosive, as sand tends to be. The pipeline will be coming through Kansas, if approved. We, as the people who drink the water in this state, have a right to know who is promoting this project and why.
In closing, we condemn all threats made to the Koch brothers and their employees. We are a non-violent group, as we have demonstrated since our inception in October when we came together, many of us strangers to one another, to oppose corruption in both the public and private sectors. We do not hate the Koch brothers. We merely disagree with their actions.
– Mike Shatz