Fishing boats converge on Nova Scotia harbour as part of effluent pipe protest

Fishing boats pass the Northern Pulp mill as concerned residents, fishermen and Indigenous groups protest the mill's plan to dump millions of litres of effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait in Pictou, N.S., on Friday, July 6, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

Fishing boats pass the Northern Pulp mill as concerned residents, fishermen and Indigenous groups protest the mill’s plan to dump millions of litres of effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait in Pictou, N.S., on Friday, July 6, 2018. (CP/Andrew Vaughan)

Dozens of fishing boats steamed towards a hulking pulp mill in northern Nova Scotia on Friday, marking the climax of a boisterous demonstration that saw more than 1,000 protesters call on the mill’s owners to scuttle a plan to dump millions of litres of effluent a day into the Northumberland Strait.

Chanting “No pipe, no way!” a long line of marchers streamed onto the pier of a sun-drenched marina in Pictou, which is directly across the town’s harbour from the massive Northern Pulp mill.

A fishermen’s group estimated that about 200 boats were part of the flotilla that sailed into the breezy, choppy harbour around 1 p.m., then circled back to the marina as a protest rally got underway.

Though the kraft pulp mill provides much-needed jobs for the town of about 3,000 residents, its pipeline plan has raised concerns about the impact on the lobster fishery, other seafood businesses and protected areas along the coast.

After years of pumping 70 million litres of treated wastewater daily into lagoons on the edge of the nearby Pictou Landing First Nation reserve, Northern Pulp wants to dump it directly into the strait.

The mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence based in Richmond, B.C., has said the mill and its 300 employees will be out of work unless it can build a pipeline that would meet all federal environmental standards: “The bottom line is no pipe equals no mill.”

Kathy Cloutier, a spokeswoman for Paper Excellence, said in a statement that of the 131 kraft mills operating in North America, about 20 per cent use a system like the one proposed for the mill at Abercrombie Point. The remaining 80 per cent use a system similar to the lagoon system now in use.

Cloutier said options are limited, as no other effluent systems are used in either the U.S. or Canada.

“Northern Pulp has thoroughly investigated treatment options available,” Cloutier said. “This $70-million project will considerably reduce the need for bleaching chemicals by 30 to 40 per cent to whiten the pulp as it progresses through the system.”

Nonetheless, Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul said her people’s fight against the mill isn’t over.

“There have been many people working tirelessly for years to bring this to the forefront,” she said after stepping from one of the fishing boats in the harbour.

“This is not going to end today. We will continue to be on this water because we have a duty to protect all that lives in the water.”

Concerned residents, fishermen and Indigenous groups protest a pulp mill’s plan to dump millions of litres of effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait in Pictou, N.S on Friday, July 6, 2018. (CP/Andrew Vaughan)

Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan told the crowd that the province’s decision to conduct a Class 1 environmental assessment wasn’t good enough. He wants a federal environmental assessment.

“The town of Pictou will continue to take the firm position that protection of the fishing industry is paramount,” he said, sunshine glinting off the large chain of office around his neck.

Earlier in the day, P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan issued a statement saying he had written to federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil to express his concerns about the potential impact on the ecosystem of the Northumberland Strait.

“Given the amount of time that has passed and fresh uncertainty about the Northern Pulp proposal, I believe there is now an opportunity to take a more fully collaborative approach,” the letter says.

Under provincial legislation passed in 2015, the mill has until 2020 to replace its current treatment plant in nearby Boat Harbour, and McNeil confirmed Thursday he is sticking with that deadline.

He said he didn’t know much about the protest, adding that he wasn’t surprised by the reaction to the pipeline proposal.

“Any time there’s a development, there will be those who have opposing views, and they are polarizing at times,” McNeil said after he shuffled his cabinet Thursday, appointing a new environment minister in the process.

Before the protest got underway in Pictou, Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the province should abandon its plans to conduct a Class 1 assessment and instead order a more stringent Class 2 assessment.

If that doesn’t happen, then the federal government should be approached to conduct a comprehensive review, he said.

“Either of these would accomplish the goal of having entirely trustworthy information in front of everybody,” Burrill said.

He also called attention the mill’s spotty environmental record as its ownership has changed hands several times since it opened in 1967.

The lagoons contain nearly 50 years worth of toxic waste, which former Nova Scotia environment minister Iain Rankin has called one of the worst cases of environmental racism in Canada.

In February, groups representing fishermen in Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and New Brunswick suspended further meetings with the mill after voicing frustration over its insistence on a pipe.

Earlier this month, the company said the proposed route of a pipeline would be changed to avoid potential ice damage. That means the company has delayed filing its environmental assessment with the province.

The mill generates over $200 million annually for the provincial economy by making 280,000 tonnes of kraft pulp annually, primarily for tissue, towel, toilet and photo copy paper.

The Canadian Press 

[SOURCE]

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Trans Mountain pipeline protest in Coquitlam, B.C. sees 2 arrested

A protester holds a feather while standing on a piece of contruction equipment Thursday. Police arrested two people at the demonstration. (Shane MacKichan)

Police say 22-year-old woman, 23-year-old man arrested

Two people have been arrested following a protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline in Coquitlam, B.C.

RCMP say nine people were peacefully protesting Thursday but police were called in when the protesters began blocking equipment and highway traffic.

Protesters said in an email that they “physically intervened” and forced construction to a halt on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

RCMP say in a news release that a 22-year-old woman, who locked herself to a piece of machinery, and a 23-year-old man were arrested.

The man was later released without charge and police are recommending a charge of mischief against the woman, who they say is an Ontario resident.

Police say the protest was not violent and no one was injured.

A protester is led away by a police officer Thursday from a demonstration against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline (Shane MacKichan)

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

First Nations Launching Call for Mass Demonstration to Protest Trans Mountain

A sign protesting the path of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion hangs outside a trailer in Burnaby, B.C., on Jan. 10.

First Nations communities and their supporters are planning to ratchet up on-the-ground resistance to Kinder Morgan Inc.’s planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline with a call for a mass demonstration on Burnaby Mountain in March.

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation – which is challenging the federal approval in court – is launching a campaign of volunteer recruitment and training Tuesday through a network of allied Indigenous communities and environmental groups.

“The spiritual leaders are calling for a mass mobilization,” Rueben George, project manager for the Sacred Trust, which was established by the Tsleil-Waututh to oppose the $7.4-billion pipeline project.

“We want to rally support and bring out the facts of the destruction [the project] will cause and who really benefits.”

The planned action could escalate into confrontation as opponents of the project are determined to stop construction, said Chief Bob Chamberlain, vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“I can see [protesters] doing whatever it takes” to stop the project, he said. “This is going to escalate to a place that the government doesn’t anticipate. We hope for peaceful, non-violent action but people are going to rise up to the challenge.”

Opponents of the pipeline expansion demonstrated on Burnaby Mountain three years ago, and more than 100 people were arrested for refusing police orders to disperse. Smaller protests have sprung up in recent months around Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal, as the company continues to obtain permits from the B.C. government for preconstruction activity.

On Tuesday, the Tsleil Waututh will put out a call to allied nations and supporters of environmental organization, with organizers saying their network will reach some 200,000 Canadians.

The planned pipeline expansion has sparked an interprovincial battle between the British Columbia government, which opposes the project, and Alberta, which argues its oil industry desperately needs access to Pacific Rim markets in order to receive world prices for its crude.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Nanaimo, B.C., last week defending his government’s decision to approve the project that he insists is in the national interest, while pledging to protect the coast from risks of a spill because of increased tanker traffic.

At an energy conference in Ottawa, several industry speakers said the Trans Mountain project is a key marker for the Liberal government, arguing that Ottawa’s response in the face of opposition will determine whether Canada can complete controversial resource projects.

Mr. Trudeau should not leave Alberta to lead the defence of the project that Ottawa has declared to be in the national interest, said Martha Hall Findlay, president of Calgary-based Canada West Foundation. Instead, Ottawa must send a strong message that neither protesters nor the B.C. government will be allowed to derail the expansion, she told the Energy Council of Canada meeting.

At the town hall session in Nanaimo last week, the Prime Minister was jeered when he defended the government’s decision.

“It is in the national interest to move forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline and we will be moving forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” Mr. Trudeau told a rowdy crowd.

“We will also protect the B.C. coast,” he said. However, he added that the Liberal’s vaunted $1.5-billion ocean-protection plan was contingent on the pipeline proceeding, a statement viewed as a threat by pipeline opponents.

Chief Chamberlain complained that the Prime Minister is “holding the ocean-protection plan hostage” to the pipeline project.

The government is failing in its pledge of reconciliation by approving the Trans Mountain expansion project over the objections of several local First Nation communities, he said. The government has committed to respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes the principle that First Nations people be afforded the right to free, prior and informed consent over projects that impact their traditional territory.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has said the UN principle provides for fuller consultation and partnership over decision-making, but does not provide any one Indigenous community with a veto over a project that is in the national interest.

The Globe and Mail

[SOURCE]

Anti-pipeline Activists Stage Protest on Edmonton’s High Level Bridge

Protesters opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project hung a three-part banner from the High Level Bridge on Friday. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Not all Albertans support the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion, activists say

Protesters hung a large banner from Edmonton’s High Level Bridge on Friday morning to “dispel the myth” that all Albertans support the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

“It’s reckless to expand major fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when we should be seeing all hands on deck for investing in a sustainable economic future,” Anna Gerrard, a spokesperson for the demonstrators, said in a news release. “Albertans are ready for an energy transition.”

The three-part banner, proclaiming No Kinder Morgan, is hung from the east side of the bridge where it can be seen from the Legislature building. It was hung by a team of “educators, workers, students and community organizers,” the news release said.

“Today’s event sends a clear message to Rachel Notley that Albertans are ready for a stable economic future, not another ill-fated pipe dream,” the protesters said.

The twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline would nearly triple the capacity of the 1,150-kilometre line running from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

The $7.4-billion construction project would add 980 km of new pipeline and reactivate 193 km of existing pipeline along the route.

First Nations, environmental groups and the NDP government in British Columbia are all fighting against Ottawa’s approval of the project.

The protest comes one day after TransCanada’s announcement that it will not proceed with its proposed Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects, prompting Indigenous groups and other opponents to claim victory.

The 4,500-km Energy East pipeline would have carried more than one million barrels of oil every day from Alberta and Saskatchewan across the country to be refined or exported from facilities in New Brunswick and Quebec. Recent projects had put the full price tag at almost $16 billion.

CBC News

[SOURCE]

Native Americans Protest Christopher Columbus’ Ship Replicas in Traverse City

Native Americans protested the arrival of two Christopher Columbus’ replica ships in Traverse City on Wednesday night.

Members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians surrounded the ships and stood by on land as the Nina and Pinta pulled in. Some sign-carrying protesters in kayaks went to out “meet” the ships at West Grand Traverse Bay.

Officials with the tribe said the ships are a painful reminder of the past.

Timothy Grey of Traverse City called the replicas “floating monuments of a 500-year holocaust” and added that “being in a time period now where monuments and symbolisms of things in the past are so contentious….allowing these ships to dock here is dangerous.”

“That’s not right, those things should not be here, they are terrifying, they symbolize nothing but genocide, nothing more”  – Timothy Grey.

The ships arrived to offer tours for what some consider a celebration of American history.

Columbus ship replicas arrive. Credit: The Columbus Foundation

The tall-ship replicas from Christopher Columbus‘ sailing fleet — built and sailed by The Columbus Foundation — will be docked at Clinch Park Marina for tours Aug. 18-22.

A company statement from The Columbus Foundation said it wasn’t looking to create “heroes or villains,” but built the ships to create historically accurate replicas.

While the Columbus Foundation emphasizes educating the public on ship design and shipbuilding as central to its core mission, it alludes to controversy surrounding Columbus on its website under a heading titled “Best Reasons To Visit the Niña and Pinta.”

“In most ways, the boats are no different from any of the various tourist activities offered throughout the area by representing the past in present replica physical form,” the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians wrote in a press release. “But in several critical ways, they are uniquely damaging, because the replica ships represent the narrative of “discovery” of the “new world” by European claimants and the devastating consequences of the “discovery” for indigenous people. The Nina and Pinta are symbols of a standard and system of thought that should be repugnant to the American ideals of equality and property rights for all people. Indeed, Traverse City, along with other local and state governments, now recognizes “Indigenous Peoples Day” on Columbus Day to support this paradigm shift.”

The Maritime Heritage Alliance says this is a good time for the tribe to share their story and says this is an important reminder to everyone that there are two sides to every story.

The tribe will be at Clinch Park Marina throughout the weekend passing out information and protesting.

Woman Arrested in Muskrat Falls Protest Moved to Men’s Prison in St. John’s

Labrador’s Beatrice Hunter is now behind bars at the province’s largest male prison, days after the Labrador Land Protectors held a vigil outside of the RCMP’s Happy Valley-Goose Bay lockup. (Facebook and CBC)

Beatrice Hunter — an Inuit grandmother — has been transferred more than 1,000 kilometres from home

CBC Posted: Jun 02, 2017 

Beatrice Hunter, a Labrador woman sent to jail this week after she told the court she could not promise to obey an injunction against protesting at Muskrat Falls, is now behind bars at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s.

With no female correctional facility in Labrador, Hunter is just the latest woman to end up in the province’s largest male prison.

“Females are being held again at HMP because of crowding at the Clarenville (women’s) facility,” said Memorial University professor and sociologist Rose Ricciardelli on Friday.

“It’s definitely a problem. It’s very challenging. She’s clearly not in a good space, she’s probably not very comfortable where she is and she doesn’t have the supports that would be essential.”

Hunter was brought into custody on Monday morning during proceedings related to charges laid after a Muskrat Falls protest over the Victoria Day weekend.

Beatrice Hunter was taken into custody Monday, after she told the court she would not promise to stay away from the Muskrat Falls construction site. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Shouldn’t be incarcerated

Ricciardelli says Hunter shouldn’t have been incarcerated in the first place.

“There’s no need or reason that a non-violent individual would be held in a … place such as prison,” she told CBC’s Labrador Morning.

Though Hunter was given the option by a judge to avoid prison time if she agreed to stay away from Muskrat Falls, Ricciardelli says more alternatives should have been made available.

“Giving her this option of saying, ‘Can you adhere? Can you stay away from the land?‘ is not really presenting an alternative if she feels like her role is to be on the land,” she said.

“Her choices were very clear [and] she was very honest in her response.”

Being sent to prison far away from home also places an undue burden on families of inmates like Hunter, said Ricciardelli. Hunter lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, located in northern Labrador, more than 1,000 kilometres from St. John’s.

“There are no resources in places to have families go and visit loved ones who are incarcerated,” she said.

‘She’s in there with murderers’

A small group of supporters gathered outside HMP on Friday afternoon to protest Hunter’s incarceration.

“We would like to see her freed. It’s ridiculous,” said Jodi Greenleaves. “There was no violent crimes committed … they have her inside here in a men’s prison that’s over-populated and is in disgusting condition.”

“She’s in there with murderers and rapists and drug abusers — she’s an Inuit grandmother, a kind and gentle person. She’s not at risk to hurt anybody … she’s a political prisoner, is what she is.”

Jodi Greenleaves, originally of Cartwright, stands outside Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s on Friday to protest Beatrice Hunter’s incarceration at the men’s prison. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Hunter, who went onto the main Muskrat Falls site last October, is expected to appear in provincial court Tuesday for a hearing.

With files from Labrador Morning and Gary Locke

[SOURCE]

Indigenous Protesters Ordered to Pay Oil Giant Thousands Over Pipeline Legal Battle

Haudenosaunee man Todd Williams has been ordered to pay thousands in legal fees after disrupting work in protest at Enbridge dig sites in Hamilton this year. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Haudenosaunee men spent months protesting at Enbridge dig sites

By Adam Carter

Todd Williams spent months sparring with Enbridge all over Hamilton, trying to disrupt the company’s pipeline operations. And now it’s costing him.

After a legal battle with the oil giant that centred on the company’s property rights versus Indigenous treaty and hunting rights, Williams and another Haudenosaunee man, Wayne Hill, were ordered by a Superior Court in Hamilton this month to pay Enbridge $25,381.81 in legal fees. The costs award comes after Enbridge won an injunction barring them from maintenance dig sites.

Williams says that Enbridge has approached him with an offer to forgo those costs if he agrees to stay away, but he isn’t sure if he wants to sacrifice his principles.

He contends that Enbridge’s isn’t properly consulting with Aboriginal communities about maintenance work on its Line 10 pipeline, which runs through Hamilton — though Enbridge says otherwise.

“It’s about not allowing us to participate. We’re concerned about the land,” Williams said.

“We have rights — treaty rights.”

An Enbridge spokesperson said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case as it’s before the courts, but Senior Communications Adviser Suzanne Wilton told CBC News that “seeking legal remedies is always a last resort.”

“Safety is our top priority and these steps were necessary to ensure that preventative maintenance required for the continued safe operation of our pipeline could continue,” she said. “We would prefer to achieve mutually agreeable solutions through conversation.”

Blocking roads and tearing down fences

According to court documents filed as part of the injunction, Enbridge says that Williams and Hill have been “regularly interfering” with its work crews at maintenance dig sites along the pipeline since Jan. 26, 2017.

The documents say there have been “dozens” of incidents where Williams interfered with work crews, and at least six incidents involving Hill.

“Enbridge alleges that one or both of the defendants have torn down snow fences, blocked roads and gates, and have verbally demanded that work be shut down,” the documents say. “In one incident Mr. Williams blocked a maintenance dig site such that Enbridge employees working at the site could not leave until he was persuaded to move his truck.

“Enbridge alleges that after two weeks of obstruction the defendants placed rabbit traps to obstruct its access to certain maintenance dig sites, asserting treaty hunting rights.”

Williams says he used these kinds of traps at Enbridge dig sites in Hamilton. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Other protests have sprung up over Enbridge pipelines in Hamilton in recent years, including an occupation of the North Westover pump station in 2013.

Williams, who is an engineer, is part of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), which is in turn part of the traditional Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council.

He wants Enbridge to notify the HDI of work along the pipeline, and to pay to have Haudenosaunee monitoring staff on worksites to make sure the work is being done safely and to environmental standards.

In court documents, Enbridge says that it wrote letters to two First Nations (Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit) and to HDI describing the nature of the work.

For Williams, that wasn’t enough. “We need more engagement, more consultation than just a notice,” he said.

Treaty rights versus property rights

Williams says he started camping out at sites and setting traps (which are humane cage traps), citing the Nanfan Treaty of 1701, which he says include his harvesting and hunting rights to the land.

In the end, the court found that Enbridge was entitled to an injunction restraining Williams and Hill from interfering with any dig sites.

“They determined their rights override my treaty rights. They’re pretty much saying I can’t have my treaty rights on private property,” Williams said.

“Well, when that agreement was signed, there was no private property.”

Williams said that ruling is not being appealed.

Workers were present at the Enbridge maintenance dig site on Wilson Street in Ancaster on Tuesday. (Adam Carter/CBC)

In the end, the two men are now on the hook for Enbridge’s legal costs — which amounts to $18,387.81 to Williams and $7,000 for Hill.

Williams says that he can dip into his retirement funds to pay it off, but that treaty rights and environmental safety are both bigger issues.

He also says that Enbridge has made an offer to forgive the costs award, if he stays away from the company’s work sites for two years.

Enbridge would not confirm or deny that offer when asked, citing the court proceedings.

“I’m considering it, but we’re talking about my rights and how they’re considered,” Williams said.

“If I get up and walk away, they’re just going to continue.”

Article By Adam Carter, originally posted in CBC News on May 31, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

Lac La Ronge Indian Band Members Protest Election Disqualification

Some band members were disqualified from running in the upcoming Lac La Ronge Indian Band election due to unpaid debts. (Supplied by Shay McKenzie)

Band members running for chief and council positions were removed due to unpaid debts to the band

CBC News Posted: Mar 21, 2017

Protesters gathered in front of the Lac la Ronge Indian Band office on Monday calling for band members who were disqualified from running to be re-instated as candidates in this month’s upcoming band election.

Former candidates running for the positions of chief and council were removed due to unpaid debts to the band, such as rent costs.

According to band documents provided to CBC, one disqualified candidate owed $16,678.83 in rent arrears. Another owed $3,100.

One disqualified candidate, Henry McKenzie, claims the debts date back 10 years or more. McKenzie also said he held office as a councillor before and that other disqualified candidates had also run for office in prior elections.

The members were disqualified from candidacy due to a clause in the band’s election regulations which states “conflict of interest means that the candidate has no debt and remaining unpaid to the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, including Band entities, businesses and corporations to which the Band is a majority shareholder.”

The former candidates were notified of their removal from the ballots on Feb. 17, stemming from a band council resolution issued on Feb. 13. The band was giving them until March 10 to pay up.

Band members allege they did not have enough time to offer a challenge to the disqualifications. (Supplied by Shay McKenzie)

The letter cited a section of the band’s election act which states that additions or changes to the band’s election must be “delivered to all families in which one or more Electors reside” three months prior to their adoption to allow time for a written challenge.

If no challenges are received, then the changes can be approved through a resolution, such as the one passed on Feb. 13.

According to the band’s website, Lac la Ronge’s Election Act was revised last October.

A letter addressed to the band’s electoral officer, Milton Burns, alleges there was not enough time given for the disqualified members to respond.

Burns was unavailable for comment. Tammy Cook-Searson, one of five candidates for the seat of chief and current incumbent, could not be reached for comment.

The band’s election is March 31.

[SOURCE]

Veterans are Planning a ‘Deployment’ to Standing Rock to Protest the Dakota Access Pipeline

Police confront protesters with a rubber bullet gun during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 20, 2016. Stephanie Keith/REUTERS

Police confront protesters with a rubber bullet gun during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 20, 2016. Stephanie Keith/REUTERS

Business Insider UK | November 21, 2016

“Most civilians who’ve never served in a uniform are gutless worms who’ve never been in a fight in their life,” Wes Clark Jr. declares. “So if we don’t stop it, who will?”

Clark Jr. is one of the most vociferous opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial 1,170-mile project that, if and when it is completed, will shuttle an estimated 470,000 barrels of crude oil every day from North Dakota to Illinois. “It’s immoral, and wrong, and dangerous to us all,” Clark Jr. adds.

He doesn’t fit the traditional tree-hugger mold. He’s not a hippie. Nor is he a member of the Lakota or Dakota tribes, the two Native American group known collectively as the Sioux. He’s a former Army officer and the organizer of an upcoming three-day deployment of U.S. military veterans to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota, the site of an escalating months-long standoff between law enforcement-backed security contractors and activists that has so far resulted in multiple injuries, more than 500 arrests, and a United Nations investigation of potential human rights abuses.

According to an “operations order” for the planned engagement, posted to social media in mid-November, “First Americans have served in the Unites States Military, defending the soil of our homelands, at a greater percentage than any other group of Americans. There is no other people more deserving of veteran support.”

Clark Jr. is a 47-year-old writer, political commentator, and activist based in California. Joining him in the fight is Michael A. Wood Jr., a Marine Corps veteran and former Baltimore police officer who retired his badge in 2014 to become an advocate for national police reform. Earlier this month, the duo formed Veterans Stand For Standing Rock with the hope of drawing scores of veterans, as well as fire fighters, ex-law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel and others to the battleground for a three-day “deployment” in early December to “prevent progress on the Dakota Access Pipeline and draw national attention to the human rights warriors of the Sioux tribes.” Both men say they’re prepared to take a bullet, rubber or otherwise, for a cause they believe should be of critical importance to any patriotic American.

“This country is repressing our people,” Wood Jr. says. “If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.”

Protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline block a highway in near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Associated Press/James MacPherson

Protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline block a highway in near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Associated Press/James MacPherson

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation was originally established as part of the Great Sioux Reservation under Article 2 of the Treaty of Fort Laramie of April 29, 1868. In 1877, the U.S. government initiated the still ongoing process of chipping away and dividing the land it had granted to the people of the Lakota and Dakota nations, with significant reductions taking place in 1889 and then again during the 1950s and 1960s, when the Army Corps of Engineers built five large dams along the Missouri River, uprooting villages and sinking 200,000 acres of land below water.

When the Corps of Engineers returned to Standing Rock in 2015, it was to assess whether or not it should approve a path for the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Missouri River, a project that would involve construction on some of the land that had been stripped from the Sioux, who still regard it as sacred — although, that fact seems to have been ignored, maybe even intentionally, in the assessment.

Because the Corps neglected to consult the Standing Rock Sioux, as it was required to do under the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106), the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the American Council on Historic Preservation all criticized the assessment, but the project was eventually approved. The decision was a major victory for Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based parent company of Dakota Access LLC, which estimates the pipeline will bring $156 million in sales and income taxes to state and local governments and create thousands of temporary jobs.

For the Standing Rock Sioux, the Dakota Access project poses two immediate threats. First, the pipeline would run beneath Lake Oahe, the reservoir that provides drinking water to the people of Standing Rock. (An earlier route that avoided native lands was ruled out in part because it posed a danger to drinking water.) Second, according to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the building of the pipeline would destroy the sacred spots and burial grounds that were overlooked in the Corps’ assessment.

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The burned hulks of heavy trucks sit on Highway 1806 near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Friday, Oct. 28, near the spot where protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline were evicted from private property a day earlier. Associated Press/James MacPherson

But as the protests have intensified, and more outsiders, including members of more than 200 Native American tribes from across the North America, have become involved, Standing Rock has, for some, come to represent something much bigger than a struggle between a disenfranchised people and a government-backed, billion-dollar corporation. It’s a battle to save humanity from itself.

“Mother Earth’s axis is off and it’s never going back,” says Phyllis Young, a Sioux tribal elder. “And we have to help keep it in balance for as long as we can. I am a mother and a grandmother. Those are my credentials to ensure a future with clean drinking water — a future of human dignity, human rights, and human survival.”

Young grew up on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. She has been present at many of the protests and says she’s seen people brutalized at the hands of the security contractors and law enforcement officials guarding the land where the drilling is set to take place. It was Young who got Clark Jr involved. In late summer, she was in Washington, D.C., lobbying for the military to promote an alternative (and scientifically dubious) clean energy source called low-energy nuclear reaction, when she heard of a military veteran who was a forceful advocate for environmental conservation. Clark Jr. was eager to help.

He spent weeks trying to assemble a legal team for the Standing Rock Sioux, and even contacted Independent Diplomat, a nonprofit organization that helps governments navigate complex diplomatic processes. “I pulled all of the levers, and none of them worked,” Clark Jr. recalls. Then, in early November, the plan dawned on him: He’d bring his fellow veterans. Lots of them. And they’d come prepared to put their lives on the line.

“We’re not going out there to get in a fight with anyone,” Clark Jr. says. “They can feel free to beat us up, but we’re 100% nonviolence.”

You may have heard of Clark Jr.’s father. Wesley Clark Sr. retired from the Army in 2000 as a four-star general. His career began in the jungles of Vietnam, where he was shot four times during an enemy ambush near Saigon, and culminated in a posting as Supreme Allied Commander Europe during the Kosovo War. In 2004, he ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination on platform that criticized the Iraq War and called for measures to combat climate change. Clark Jr., who was born in Florida while Clark Sr. was in Vietnam and grew up on military bases throughout the United States and Europe, seems to have inherited both his father’s commanding spirit and his progressive ideals.

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Police use a water cannon on a protester during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 20, 2016. Stephanie Keith/REUTERS

Clark Jr. had just graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service when he joined the Army as a cavalry officer. He served on active duty from 1992–1996 —  “nothing dangerous,” he says. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was living in New York City, and after seeing the towers fall, he decided to re-enlist. “I was like, ‘I’m going back in. I’m going to go in there and fuck people up,’” he recalls.

It was Clark Sr., the decorated war hero, who convinced him not to. As Clark Jr. recalls, his father foresaw U.S. military intervention in Iraq and warned that as a soldier he would be fighting a war that had nothing to do with defeating al Qaeda. “He was right, but I’ll tell you, I’ve never felt worse about a decision in my life,” Clark Jr. says.

Clark Jr. may never have served in combat, but when he talks about Standing Rock, he sounds like a battle-hardened general. This isn’t his first foray into boots-on-the-ground environmental activism. He’s currently working with an organization called Climate Mobilization, which is focused on “building and supporting a social movement that causes the US federal government to commence WWII-scale climate mobilization.”

But he’s perhaps best known as a co-host of the political web series The Young Turks. On the The Young Turks website, Clark Jr. is described as an Army veteran “currently trying to save human civilization from climate change.” The impending confrontation at Standing Rock, he says, will be “the most important event up to this time in human history.”

Vets Standing For Standing Rock was announced via an official sounding letter formatted like a five-paragraph military operation order, breaking down the “opposing forces” — “Morton County Sheriff’s office combined with multiple state police agencies and private security contractors” — “Mission,” “Execution” and “Logistics,” among other things. A packing list virtually mirrors the ones issued to soldiers preparing to deploy to the field (minus the weapons). But there are also parts of the document that read like a revolutionary manifesto.

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A man from the Muskogee tribe looks at the Oceti Sakowin shrouded in mist during a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Under the section titled “Friendly Forces,” for example, the op order states, “we are there to put our bodies on the line, no matter the physical cost, in complete nonviolence to provide a clear representation to all Americans of where evil resides.”The document was accompanied by a link to a GoFundMe campaign that has raised nearly $20,000 of its $100,000 goal since it was created on Nov. 11. The money, Clark Jr. says, will only be used for helping volunteers with transportation costs and then bailing those who are arrested out of jail.

Wood Jr. says the op-order was Clark Jr.’s idea, but the two men agree that organizing like a military unit is the smartest approach, especially because most of the people expected to join them on the ground have served.

“It’s simple and we have clearly defined goals, so people don’t get caught up in the confusion,” says Wood Jr., who served with the Baltimore Police Department for more than a decade. “One of the issues the police are going to face is that our level of planning and coordination is vastly superior to theirs, so they may end up with a problem when it comes to that.”

Here then is the plan: On Dec. 4, Clark Jr. and Wood Jr., along with a group of veterans and other folks in the “bravery business,” as Wood Jr. puts it — 500 total is the goal, but they’re hoping for more — will muster at Standing Rock. The following morning they will join members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, including Young, for a traditional healing ceremony. With an eye toward the media, old military uniforms will be donned so that if the veterans are brutalized by the police, they are brutalized not as ordinary citizens, but as people who once served the government they are protesting against.

Then body armor, ear plugs, and gas masks will be issued to those who didn’t bring their own. Bagpipes will play, and traditional Sioux war songs will be sung. The music will continue as everyone marches together to the banks of the Missouri, on the other side of which a line of guards in riot gear will be standing ready with rifles, mace, batons, and dogs. Then, the veterans and their allies — or at least the ones who are brave enough — will lock arms and cross the river in a “massive line” for their “first encounter” with the “opposing forces.”

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Dakota Access pipeline protesters Stephanie Keith/Reuters

The goal is to make it to the drilling pad and surround it, arm in arm. That will require making it through the line of guards, who have repelled other such attempts with a level of physical force Sioux tribal members and protesters have described as “excessive” — claims that recently prompted a United Nations investigation. Of course, that’s what the body armor and gas masks are for.

“We’ll have those people who will recognize that they’re not willing to take a bullet, and those who recognize that they are,” says Wood Jr. “It’s okay if some of them step back, but Wes and I have no intention of doing so.”

Of course, as most veterans know full well, even the best plans go out the window the moment the shit hits the fan. It seems probable that the group will be met by fierce resistance from those charged with keeping people out of the construction site. Despite a recent decision by the Corps of Engineers to delay further work on the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners is still hoping to complete the project by January.

The segment that will cross beneath the Missouri at Standing Rock is the last major piece of the puzzle. Strengthening the resolve of the company’s executives is the fact that Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren donated more than $100,000 to elect Donald Trump, and Trump himself owns stock in the company. “I’m 100% sure that the pipeline will be approved by a Trump administration,” Warren told NBC News on Nov. 12.

Nonetheless, Clark Jr. and Wood Jr. remain undeterred. If anything, the likelihood of approval only makes them more determined. After all, this is war.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff labeled the climate emergency as the number one security threat to the country, and they’ve been labeling it that for years,” Clark Jr. says. “All you need to do is put an overlay on any map in the world where there’s a water and crisis and you’re going to see massive political violence in that location. And unless we act, we’re going to be dealing with that exact same situation right here in the United States.”

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/veterans-planning-deployment-standing-rock-183235602.html

Six Nations Protests in Solidarity with Standing Rock at Brantford Mall

Six Nations residents have been protesting a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota for months. Their latest protest was Friday at a Brantford mall. (Shane Powless/Youtube)

Six Nations residents have been protesting a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota for months. Their latest protest was Friday at a Brantford mall. (Shane Powless/Youtube)

Another protest scheduled in Hamilton on Monday morning

CBC News Posted: Nov 06, 2016

Brantford’s Lynden Park Mall was filled with dancing and drumming on Friday evening as people from Six Nations participated in a “flash mob” in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s fight against the construction of a contentious oil pipeline in North Dakota.

The project is the Dakota Access Pipeline and is intended to transport light sweet crude oil from the Bakken oil field near the Canadian border to Illinois.

Indigenous leaders have said the pipeline poses a threat to sacred land and to the water supply they depend on from the Missouri River. Indigenous groups from all over North America have joined them in their protest, and thousands of people are now camping there as the standoff has become more contentious.

Six Nations has been extending support for Standing Rock for months. Six Nations elected chief Ava Hill sent a letter expressing support in August.

“As the most populated First Nation in Canada with more than 26,000 members; Six Nations of the Grand River is honoured to stand with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” the letter states.

And this video was posted in September:

A protest is being planned in Hamilton for Monday morning at 11 a.m. in Gore Park. Thousands of people attended a protest in Toronto on Saturday.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/six-nations-protests-in-solidarity-with-standing-rock-at-brantford-mall-1.383905