Tag Archives: #NODAPL

Delegation seeks settlement of Dakota Access protest costs


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s congressional delegation is calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to address the state’s year-old request for $38 million to cover the cost of policing protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong sent a letter Thursday urging Attorney General William Barr and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to settle the state’s claim, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

North Dakota’s attorney general filed an administrative claim against the Army Corps of Engineers last year, accusing the agency of letting protesters illegally camp on federal land in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017. It also argued the Corps didn’t maintain law and order when thousands gathered to protest the $3.8 billion pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

The pipeline was designed to move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

The Corps inaction “required North Dakota to provide a sustained, large-scale public safety response to prevent deaths, and protect property and public safety, including that of the protesters,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in the funding request at the time.

The state delegation is now asking Barr and Shanahan to recognize the state’s public safety response during the prolonged and sometimes violent protests.

Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle declined to comment on the delegation’s letter. The Defense Department also didn’t immediately provide comment.

The delegates’ request came on the same day that a federal appeals court ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by environmental and Native American groups who sought to block construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Opponents of the $8 billion pipeline from Canada to the U.S. have threatened similar protests to those against the Dakota Access pipeline.

By Associated Press, June 12, 2019

[SOURCE]

Oil Giant Allegedly Hired International Counter-Terrorist Military Group to Fight Natives

Conor Varela Handley – Water protectors were under constant surveillance and harassment from the perimeters of their camps, day and night.

‘The Intercept’ posts internal memos by TigerSwan, an international counter-terrorist military group, allegedly hired by Energy Transfer Partners

May 29, 2017

The revelations posted by the investigative-news website The Intercept on Saturday May 27 did not come as much of a surprise to water protectors who spent time on the front lines or at the camps near Standing Rock in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In fact the allegations of intense surveillance by private contractor TigerSwan, as if water protectors were terroristic jihadists rather than peaceful, prayerful protesters upholding the right to clean water, validated the experience of those people on the ground last summer and fall.

“While in the #OcetiSakowin camps, we knew that these counter intelligence and movement disruption tactics were being used,” said Dallas Goldtooth, the Keep It in the Ground organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, in a statement on Facebook. “Our devices would stop working for periods of time, hard drives would be cleared of information and footage, and from time to time camp security would identify infiltrators inside the camp who were working for Energy Transfer Partners.”

Over the course of the months-long protest, thousands of people descended upon land adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation to express their support for a change in route for the DAPL so that it would not pass within a half mile of the reservation or be routed through treaty land. Met with militarized police and private security forces, they were beset by dogs, shot with water cannons in subfreezing temperatures, and bombarded by rubber bullets and concussion grenades, some of which resulted in severe injuries.

Now, based on an exhaustive review of hundreds of documents, e-mails and reports, The Intercept alleges that TigerSwan, a private security company hired by DAPL builder Energy Transfer Partners, worked closely with authorities in several states, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies, to pursue ETP’s corporate agenda. Their goal was to not only stifle opposition but also infiltrate and discredit the movement, terming it dangerously religious.

“The leaked materials not only highlight TigerSwan’s militaristic approach to protecting its client’s interests but also the company’s profit-driven imperative to portray the nonviolent water protector movement as unpredictable and menacing enough to justify the continued need for extraordinary security measures,” reported Alleen Brown, Will Parrish and Alice Speri in The Intercept. The site alleges that internal TigerSwan documents were sent by a whistleblower. The trove of internal memos includes “detailed summaries of the previous day’s surveillance targeting pipeline opponents, intelligence on upcoming protests, and information harvested from social media. The documents also provide extensive evidence of aerial surveillance and radio eavesdropping, as well as infiltration of camps and activist circles.”

TigerSwan did not respond to requests for comment from ICMN. Energy Transfer Partners issued a terse statement to a request for a response.

“The safety of our employees and the communities in which we live and work is our top priority,” wrote ETP spokesperson Vicki Granado in a statement e-mailed to ICMN. “In order to ensure that, we do have security plans in place, and we do communicate with law enforcement agencies as appropriate. Beyond that we do not discuss details of our security efforts.”

Below are ten of the most shocking allegations from The Intercept, a website founded in 2013 by journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, after they helped bring forth disclosures by Edward Snowden, the National Security Administration (NSA) whistleblower, of extensive surveillance of individuals across the U.S. The Intercept’s full report contains much more, including links to downloadable originals of several of the documents cited. In addition, the story says, more coverage is in the works.

TigerSwan portrayed NoDAPL as a religious movement, akin to a jihad.

According to The Intercept, TigerSwan went so far as to compare water protectors with fundamentalist Muslims, calling the movement “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component” and alluding to Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of tactics.

TigerSwan worked against the water protectors as if they were jihadists.

Although the water protectors were unarmed, TigerSwan used tactics more often deployed against suicide bombers and violent protesters. TigerSwan infiltrated the water protectors’ ranks, trolled social media accounts for information and conducted helicopter and drone surveillance of activity far from DAPL construction sites.

People of Middle Eastern descent at the camps were identified and tracked closely as potential links to international terrorism.

TigerSwan, according to documents obtained by The Intercept, paid special attention to water protectors of Middle Eastern descent, in particular Haithem El-Zabri, a Palestinian-American activist.

“As indigenous people, Palestinians stand in solidarity with other indigenous people and their right to land, water, and sovereignty,” a shocked El-Zabri told The Intercept. “To insinuate that our assumed faith is a red flag for terrorist tactics is another example of willful ignorance and the establishment’s continued attempts to criminalize nonviolent protest and justify violence against it.”

They shadowed people of interest, from water protectors to at least one reporter.

An inkling of this seeped out when The Guardian reported earlier this year that counterterrorism experts had attempted to contact water protectors long after they had left Standing Rock. Upon reading The Intercept’s report, water protector Kandi Mossett, also of the Indigenous Environmental Network, posted photos of an alleged bugging device that had been found in a room of the Prairie Knights Hotel and Casino on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, where many water protectors were housed. TigerSwan was especially interested in activist Cody Hall, who was shadowed constantly and was the subject of much communication, according to the documents obtained and posted by The Intercept. And it was not lost on him.

“It was obvious—they were driving in trucks, SUVs, they would be right behind me, right next to me … it was like, damn, man, it’s like you’re getting an escort,” said Hall to The Intercept. “That was always the scary thing: How did they know that I was coming?”

The intense surveillance continued even after Hall’s September arrest and release on bail.

“In a deliberate show of force, four units surrounded my car. Each car had three to four officers to take me into custody,” Hall said in a statement last fall after spending a weekend in jail. “Their intimidation tactics continued when we arrived at the Morton County Jail. Eight officers were waiting for me when the elevator door opened.”

Security forces had infiltrators working for them.

Infiltrators, allegedly using fake names, were reported as trying to gain trust and insinuate themselves into positions of influence at the camps. The documents convey the sense that these agents reported back to TigerSwan regularly. One October 3 TigerSwan dispatch discusses ways to pit camp residents against one another along classic lines: native versus non-natives and protectors campaigning for peaceful action against those arguing for more aggressive actions. All such infiltrations were a part of “our effort to delegitimize the anti-DAPL movement.”

The effort extended beyond the water protector camps at Standing Rock, with monitoring of activity in all four states that the pipeline passes through.

The security contractor planted fake social media pushback on social media accounts.

As the U.S. was consumed by reports of “fake news,” TigerSwan put out some of its own, planting fake assertions on social media.

In keeping with the religious theme, TigerSwan saw the dispersal of the protectors as a diaspora that needs to be tracked and contained.

TigerSwan said the water protector movement had “generally followed the jihadist insurgency model while active,” and predicted that “we can expect the individuals who fought for and supported it to follow a post-insurgency model after its collapse.”

They think the NoDAPL movement has imploded, and that they were responsible.

“While we can expect to see the continued spread of the anti-DAPL diaspora … aggressive intelligence preparation of the battlefield and active coordination between intelligence and security elements are now a proven method of defeating pipeline insurgencies,” TigerSwan said in a memo quoted by The Intercept.

They refer to the water protector camps and associated movements in militaristic terms and display an unnerving level of hostility.

TigerSwan terms the camps “the battlespace” and characterizes the water protectors’ actions at DAPL construction sites as criminal and a national security threat.

They are still at it.

Even though the camps have dissipated, surveillance was still intense. As recently as May 4 an alleged internal memo “describes an effort to amass digital and ground intelligence,” The Intercept revealed.

Such revelations only corroborated the water protectors’ experience.

“Now the evidence of this is coming to bear,” said Goldtooth in his Facebook statement. “This proof also tells us more about the militarization of the police and the violence they imposed on Water Protectors. By comparing Indigenous Peoples and civilians to Jihadist Terrorists, police and security were essentially given permission to carry out war-like tactics on Water Protectors—and perpetrate ongoing suppression of peaceful voices dedicated to the defense of water.”

[SOURCE]

U.S. Military Veterans at Standing Rock to Mobilize to Flint for Water Crisis

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By Red Power Media, Staff | Dec 06, 2016

The battle may be over for U.S. veterans supporting the Dakota Access pipeline opposition near Standing Rock, North Dakota, but they say their fight isn’t finished and they have a new destination — Flint, Michigan, where the crisis over the city’s contaminated water is still raging.

A few days after veterans started to arrive at the Oceti Sakowin camp amid frigid cold to support Native Americans protesting against the oil pipeline project, the Army Corps of Engineers denied on Dec. 4, a permit to build the uncompleted stretch of pipeline set to run under Lake Oahe.

RELATED:

On Monday, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Chairman Dave Archambault II, asked protesters to return home after the federal government ruled against the controversial pipeline, despite the prospect of President-elect Donald Trump reversing the decision after he takes office.

Thousands of environmental activists and supporters joined the Tribe’s fight against the 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access pipeline costing $3.8 billion.

USUncut.com reports, Wes Clark Jr., who organized a force of over 4,000 U.S. military veterans to mobilize for Standing Rock, said he’s planning a similar mobilization to help the people of Flint.

Flint resident Arthur Woodson, who is a veteran and a supporter of the Standing Rock protesters, said the veterans coming to Flint may help revive media attention on the community’s plight of tainted drinking water, and that the renewed public pressure could bring about an effective solution.

“All the media attention that was there brought more attention to Standing Rock. The government had a change of heart,” Woodson told the Journal.

U.S. military veterans arrive at Standing Rock to help battle against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

U.S. military veterans arrive at Standing Rock to help Native Americans in their battle against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

According to Fusion.net, Clark was on hand at Standing Rock this weekend when protesters received news that the Army Corps of Engineers had denied an easement necessary for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline along its current route—effectively, albeit temporarily, halting the project. Joining him there were thousands of vets who had traveled to Standing Rock, including several from Flint, who saw their participation in the NoDAPL protests as part of the larger struggle they have experienced in their hometown over the past year.

In a statement celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also linked the struggles at Standing Rock with those faced by the residents of Flint:

“Water is life; we cannot survive without it. Whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, the potential threat posed to our water by the Red Hill fuel storage facility on Oʻahu, or the many other threats to our water across our nation, we must act now to protect our precious water for current and future generations to come.

In Flint, drinking water was contaminated by lead seeping through pipes in 2014. City officials denied the leakage problem for months, causing a serious problem, NPR reported. High blood lead levels ensued as Flint residents drank the water, which was particularly harmful to children and pregnant women, causing learning disabilities in developing brains.

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President Obama declared a state of emergency earlier this year.

Unfortunately, the situation in Flint did not qualify for a major disaster declaration and was deemed a man-made disaster.

It is unclear when, and how, the veterans organized by Clark will make the trip to Flint.  

#NoDAPL Day of Action – Tuesday Sep. 13

dakota-pipeline-action-day

Be part of a national day of action against the Dakota Access Pipeline on Tuesday, September 13! Find an event near you, or sign up to host an action in solidarity with the indigenous communities and local farmers and landowners fighting on the front lines.

Right now, we’re witnessing one of the most courageous stands against a fossil fuel project this country has ever seen. The movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline is growing stronger by the day, and it’s time for all of us to rise up and play a role in this fight – no matter where we live.

For tips and tools on hosting an event — click here.

If built, Dakota Access would carry toxic fracked oil from North Dakota across four states and under the Missouri River, immediately upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. That makes it a threat to the sacred land and water of Native communities and a disaster for the climate.

Thousands of Indigenous activists have set up prayer camps along the pipeline route in a historic moment of nonviolent resistance. They’re fighting with everything they have to protect their water, the land, their history, and the climate — and we need to fight with them.

To defeat a pipeline, it takes a movement of people from all corners of the nation. That’s why on Tuesday, September 13, people around the country are taking part in a day of action in solidarity with Standing Rock calling on President Obama to instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the permits for this dirty oil pipeline.


Here are more ways to support activists on the front lines:

  • Actions targeting financial institutions funding the pipeline are happening around the country between now and September 17. Learn more here and find an event near you here.
  • Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp legal defense fund
  • Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp supply fund
  • Contribute to the Red Warrior Camp legal defense fund
  • Purchase supplies for the Red Warrior Camp through this wishlist registry
  • Donate to support pipeline fighters in North Dakota and Iowa through Bold Nebraska
  • Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 telling President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline
  • Spread the word on social media using #NoDAPL

Supporting Organizations:

Honor the Earth
Indigenous Environmental
350.org
CREDO Action
Sierra Club
Bold Alliance
Greenpeace
U.S. Climate Plan
Environmental Action
Just Foreign Policy
Climate Hawks Vote
Stand.Earth
Environment America
WildEarth Guardians
350 Louisiana
Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)
Earth Action, Inc.
RuralOrganizing.org
Overpass Light Brigade
350PDX
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
350 Santa cruz
Oil Change International

Source: actionnetwork.org

With Echoes Of Wounded Knee, Tribes Mount Prairie Occupation To Block North Dakota Pipeline

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Nantinki Young–known as Tink — stirs large pot of soup for protesters gathered along the banks of the Cannonball River in North Dakota (William Yardley/LA Times)

Baltimore SunBy William Yardley, Aug, 27, 2016

Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people.

Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They string banners between trees and, when they can get a signal, they post messages with hashtags such as #ReZpectOurWater, #NoDakotaAccess and #NODAPL. For weeks, they have been arriving from the scattered patches of the United States where the government put their ancestors to protest what they say is one indignity too many in a history that has included extermination and exploitation.

It is called the Dakota Access oil pipeline and it could carry more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken region of western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois.

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota (James MacPherson)

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota (James MacPherson)

The 1,100-mile pipeline, which is estimated to cost $3.7 billion, is nearly halfway complete. But construction on a section that would sink beneath the Missouri River, just north of the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux, has been halted under orders from the sheriff of Morton County, Kyle Kirchmeier. He said protesters, nearly 30 of whom have been arrested in recent weeks, were creating safety issues.

Yet the protesters say they are creating something very different – new resistance against what they say is a seemingly endless number of pipelines, export terminals and rail lines that would transport fossil fuels across or near tribal reservations, risking pollution to air, water and land.

“Every time there’s a project of this magnitude, so the nation can benefit, there’s a cost,” Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, who was among those arrested, said in an interview. “That cost is born by tribal nations.”

Archambault and other native leaders have been caught off guard by the support they have received. What began with a handful of natives establishing a prayer camp along the river this spring has now drawn international environmental groups and prompted Hollywood celebrities, including Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley, to join them, whether here or in a protest last week in Washington, D.C., or on social media.

“Inspired by the Standing Rock Sioux’s efforts to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Leonardo DiCaprio posted on Twitter this week.

Tech Big Crow, 18, cares for Blue, one of the horses he and others have brought to the protest site, at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers. (William Yardley/LA Times)

Tech Big Crow, 18, cares for Blue, one of the horses he and others have brought to the protest site, at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers. (William Yardley/LA Times)

Lawyers from Earthjustice are representing the Standing Rock Sioux in a legal effort to stop construction of the pipeline. They claim that the Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Historic Preservation Act when it approved the project and that a more stringent environmental review should be done. They say the pipeline and its construction would damage ancestral sites of the Standing Rock Sioux and put the tribe’s water supply at risk.

On Thursday, nearly three dozen environmental groups wrote to President Obama, who visited the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in 2014 with Michelle Obama, saying the Corps approved the project using a fast-track process, known as permit 12, that was inadequate given its size and the many sensitive areas it would cross.

The Corps of Engineers argued in court in Washington this week that the Standing Rock Sioux and other parties had ample time to express concerns during a review process and that the pipeline was properly approved. Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas company building it, says the pipeline will increase the nation’s energy independence and that it is a safer means of transport than rail.

The judge over seeing the case, James A. Boasberg of United States District Court, said this week that he will rule no later than Sept. 9 on a request by the Standing Rock Sioux to stop construction and reconsider permits the project has received.

The pipeline has met resistance elsewhere along its route, including from farmers in Iowa concerned about soil damage and property owners whose land is being taken by eminent domain. But nothing compares to what has taken hold here between the rivers.

Nantinki Young, who goes by Tink, is a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe from South Dakota; she runs the cook shack here. Winona, who did not give her last name, is Penobscot. She left Maine on Monday and drove 2,100 miles to put together a recycling program for the hundreds of new residents of the protest camp.

And then there is Clyde Bellecourt. He is Ojibwe. He came from Minnesota, but may be better associated with Wounded Knee, S.D. Not the massacre in 1890, but the standoff in 1973, when the group he helped found, the American Indian Movement, suddenly became a household name, the image of Indian activism.

Clyde Bellecourt, 80, who helped found the American Indian Movement in the 1960s, said he sees “fresh energy” among younger Native Americans fighting to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. (William Yardley/LA Times)

Clyde Bellecourt, 80, who helped found the American Indian Movement in the 1960s, said he sees “fresh energy” among younger Native Americans fighting to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. (William Yardley/LA Times)

He is 80 now. Sitting in a folding chair not far from the Buick where he keeps copies of a flyer promoting his new memoir, he likes what he sees.

“My life is almost over, but there’s fresh energy here,” he said. “Save the children – that’s what this is all about.”

Protesters have vowed to stay at least until Judge Boasberg rules and potentially much longer. Monitors from Amnesty International have arrived. An employee of the federal Indian Health Service established a first aid tent. Vans carpooled people to showers.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux formed Spirit Resistance Radio, at 87.9 FM, to broadcast updates. An Art Market opened to sell handmade crafts. There was talk, lighthearted for now, about establishing a school that would teach children at the camp site in native languages.

The Morton County Sheriff’s office has blocked one of the main routes to the camp from Bismarck, the state capital, forcing some protesters to drive a lengthier route to the site. Law enforcement is planning to escort school buses that travel through the area, though protesters say they want nothing but peace and prayers.

People have been practicing nonviolent direct action tactics, preparing to try to stop construction should it start again. A lawyer from Colorado working pro bono asked protesters to fill out forms “if you think that you have a clean record and you want to be arrestable.”

Jasilyn Charger, 20, is among a group of young natives who ran together from North Dakota to Washington to protest the pipeline. She remembers the early days of the protest, when just a handful of people prayed by the river.

“When we started this, people thought we were crazy,” she said. “But look at where we are today.”

Don Cuny, 65, was among those impressed with how robust the camp had become. Like Bellecourt, he was at Wounded Knee when natives led a 71-day standoff in the town on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. That effort was driven in part by a goal to rewrite treaties with the government.

“This kind of reminds me of back in Wounded Knee,” said Cuny, who goes by Cuny Dog.  “Except that I’m gaining weight. At Wounded Knee, I lost weight.”