Minnesota Regulators Postpone Line 3 Meeting After Protests

FILE: Protest against the Enbridge Line 3 replacement in Minnesota.

Enbridge Line 3 meetings postponed after protests erupt

Minnesota regulators postponed a meeting Tuesday on Enbridge Energy’s planned Line 3 replacement after pipeline opponents disrupted the meeting with a bullhorn and a boombox.

Protests erupted as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met to discuss whether Enbridge met conditions earlier imposed by the panel. The PUC approved the project in June, giving Enbridge a green light to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across Minnesota.

Opponents in the back of the PUC hearing room took out a bullhorn and made speeches aimed at the commissioners, the Star Tribune reported.

“You should all be ashamed,” one protester said.

PUC Chairwoman Nancy Lange recessed the meeting but eventually canceled it when a protester playing music on a boombox refused to turn it off.

Several opponents sat with their backs facing the commissioners. Their shirts featured slogans such as “Enbridge lap dogs.”

In a statement, Enbridge said it was “unfortunate that a small group of people derailed” the meeting. The Canadian-based company said the conditions that were up for discussion were intended to “protect Minnesotans.”

“We acknowledge that the process has been long and difficult and raised many passionate interventions. But what happened today crossed the line,” Enbridge said.

State Rep. Dan Fabian, a Roseau Republican who chairs the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, also criticized the protesters.

“Minnesota is better than this nonsense,” Fabian said in a statement. He called on Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, the PUC and local law enforcement “to do whatever necessary to prevent disruptions like this from happening in the future.”

Line 3 runs from Alberta, Canada, across North Dakota and Minnesota to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the line, which it built in the 1960s and is running at only about half its original capacity. The replacement would restore its original capacity. But Native American and environmental activists contend the new line risks spills in fragile areas.

By The Associated Press

[SOURCE]

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Kinder Morgan suspends work on Trans Mountain pipeline amid B.C. opposition

A man holds a sign while listening as other protesters opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline extension defy a court order and block an entrance to the company’s property, in Burnaby, B.C., on Saturday April 7, 2018. CP/Darryl Dyck

Kinder Morgan says it is suspending all non-essential activities and related spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The company says its decision is based on the British Columbia government’s opposition to the project, which has been the focus of sustained protests at its marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.

Kinder Morgan says it will consult with “various stakeholders” to try and reach an agreement by May 31 that might allow the project to proceed.

The company’s decision will be seen as a blow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has insisted that the pipeline would be built, despite the angry protests and the B.C. government’s continued battle against the project in the courts.

The expansion, which would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to Burnaby, was approved by the federal government in 2016.

Kinder Morgan says it will make a decision about the project’s future based on whether it can get “clarity” on its ability to do construction in B.C. and protect its shareholders.

“As KML has repeatedly stated, we will be judicious in our use of shareholder funds. In keeping with that commitment, we have determined that in the current environment, we will not put KML shareholders at risk on the remaining project spend,” Steve Kean, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“A company cannot resolve differences between governments. While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in-service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments.”

Kean said the uncertainty around the company’s ability to finish the project “leads us to the conclusion that we should protect the value that KML has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control.”

About 200 people have been arrested near Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., during recent protests.

By: The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Burnaby won’t cover policing costs related to Trans Mountain protests

An RCMP officer reads a court order to Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, right, and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, second from right, before they were arrested after joining protesters outside Kinder Morgan’s facility in Burnaby, B.C., on March 23, 2018.

The City of Burnaby, where protests and arrests have been taking place over work under way to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, has ruled out paying policing costs related to managing the activism, says its mayor.

Like many B.C. communities, Burnaby is policed by the RCMP, and is normally on the hook for expenses, but Mayor Derek Corrigan – a vocal critic of the pipeline project – says he is drawing the line at overtime and other RCMP costs related to Trans Mountain as a project the city opposes.

“We’re not paying for the additional policing costs that are being accumulated as a result of the protests at the Trans Mountain project,” Mr. Corrigan said in an interview. “I don’t think there is anybody in the Western world who doesn’t know now that Burnaby is not paying.”

He casts the position as a reflection of Burnaby’s opposition to the project as well as the view that the Trudeau government, which approved the project, should be picking up the costs to deal with protests against it.

This isn’t the first time the issue has come up. The B.C. government says there is an outstanding $800,000 bill for policing 2014 protests related to the project that “remains in dispute,” according to a statement from the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor-General.

“The province is aware of Burnaby’s views on paying for these policing matters and we confirm there is an outstanding non-payment with respect to 2014,” said the provincial statement issued by Colin Hynes for the Ministry of Public Safety.

In their statement, the provincial public safety and Solicitor-General’s ministry said the Police Act in B.C. compels municipalities with populations over 15,000 to pay for the cost of policing within their boundaries. “This includes the cost of policing matters related to civil disobedience.”

However, the ministry said the dispute will not affect policing. “It is important to note that regardless of any disagreement over funding, policing services will continue uninterrupted and will be unaffected by any funding disagreement.”

Ironically, British Columbia’s NDP government has been sharply opposed to the expansion of the pipeline – a policy that has pitted them against the NDP government in Alberta, which is a proponent for the project.

Mr. Corrigan’s stand comes amidst increasing protests over the project. According to the Burnaby RCMP, 54 demonstrators against the project were arrested on Saturday for breaching a court-ordered injunction that prohibits protesters from coming within five metres of a pair of terminals in Burnaby operated by project proponent Kinder Morgan. Last Friday, federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart were arrested in protests.

The Trans Mountain expansion project, which has been approved by the federal government, will triple the capacity of the pipeline to about 900,000 barrels from 300,000. In recent weeks, one protest drew more than 5,000 people – and a police presence to manage the gathering.

Ali Hounsell, a spokesperson for the Trans Mountain project, said in a statement issued Sunday that “Trans Mountain’s view is that policing is a local government cost. “

Mr. Corrigan said the Mounties have told him they may take the matter to dispute resolution. While he said he has no details on that process, an RCMP spokesperson in B.C. pointed out there are provisions for working through disputes in the service agreement on municipal policing in B.C.

The mayor also said he is skeptical about RCMP assurances that dealing with the protests won’t distract from routine policing needs in Burnaby.

“They’re telling me, no, they are not diminishing any of the resources that are available to the community. But I can’t help but think this takes a toll in being able to deal with these issues,” Mr. Corrigan said. “While I am being assured that it is now, I am suspicious that it is.”

In a series of e-mail responses to Globe and Mail questions on the issue, a spokesperson for the RCMP E-Division covering B.C. said the force is dealing with protests now and looking to eventually deal with costs.

“The RCMP goal for any demonstrations is to ensure that they take place in a peaceful, lawful and safe manner. We will deploy the resources necessary to accomplish this,” Sergeant Janelle Shoihet said in an e-mail.

Sgt. Shoihet said the Burnaby RCMP don’t have contingency funds for their responsibilities but, rather, respond to calls for service and rolls salaries, expenses and other costs into an annual policing budget for the detachment.

“As you can imagine, it’s difficult to predict how many calls for service we’ll get in relation to one specific event or a series of events and therefore difficult to predict how many resources we’ll need to respond.”

Mr. Corrigan said the protests against Trans Mountain are going to get worse.

“This is the overture to what ‘s going to happen later on. I anticipate there will only be an escalation of the protests over the next months. This problem is only going to become progressively worse.”

The Globe and Mail 

[SOURCE]

How Black Bloc Activists Have Changed Protests

A Black Bloc protester throws a chair during an anti-racism demonstration, in Quebec City on Sunday, August 20, 2017. (CP/Jacques Boissinot)

The images were striking: massive blockades, protesters donning masks and black hoods suddenly racing across streets, throwing stones and destroying cars.

Such were the chaotic scenes during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany this July. Amid the looting, clashes with police and general frenzy, slogans were also emblazoned on walls offering “Free hugs for Black Blocs.”

What are the Black Blocs? And why are they associated with the G20 violence?

The Black Bloc is an anti-establishment protest tactic featuring demonstrators dressed entirely in black and concealing their identities.

Black Blocs are often demonized by the media and held as solely responsible for the chaos at major summits, even though many of the rioters lack the traditional Black Bloc garb.

After the G20, Der Spiegel published an article condemning “black-masked rioters” whose “sole purpose was to sow violence,” comparing them unfavourably with people conducting “real political protest” which it argued was now “more important than ever.”

That’s similar to the condemnation of the so-called anti-globalist movements.

Behind the mask

Embodying “new anarchy” principles, Black Blocs operate without hierarchy. They are temporary groups formed for a specific protest. Black Blocs do not exist before and after a given event.

The tactic of forming Black Blocs first appeared around 1980 in West Germany. It arose from the counter-culture movement in which people lived in squats, trying to emancipate themselves from the dual influence of government and capitalism. These “Autonomen” (autonomous people) marched against nuclear power and neo-Nazis.

They formed Black Blocs during demonstrations in order to ward off the threat of eviction from their squats, including Hamburg’s notorious Hafenstra├ƒe squat. To this day, the Berlin anti-capitalist May Day protest still includes a significant Black Bloc presence.

The tactic spread through activist networks and punk music, reaching the United States and Canada in the early 1990s.

The Battle of Seattle during the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) Summit, which received wide media coverage, was a turning point in the dissemination of Black Bloc ideology.

Since then, the tactic has been taken up by the anti-austerity movement, the student movement (notably in France, Italy and Quebec), and such non-Western countries as Brazil and Egypt.

Black Blocs are also active in anti-police demonstrations.

Due to their particular aesthetic, Black Bloc tactics are easily duplicated once they’ve been observed, like in so-called “riot porn” videos, for instance.

Yet they vary from place to place. In Germany, Black Blocs often march with banners on all sides, as protesters walk arm-in-arm. Elsewhere, individual black-clad protesters appear throughout the march or form smaller groups. Supporting groups may tag along, such as activist brass bands or street medics.

In terms of demographic makeup (class, gender, race), Black Blocs differ over time and from place to place. Black Bloc protesters might be anarchists, Communists, environmentalists, feminists, queer activists, disillusioned social democrats, students, people unemployed or holding down odd jobs. In any case, according to a Black Bloc slogan: “Who we are is less important than what we want. And we want everything, for everyone.”

The Black Bloc has become a beacon for rebellion, the object of a certain revolutionary romanticism. For many, being part of a Black Bloc is proof of their radical convictions; others see it as a display of masculinity, tinged with misogyny.

In fact, women tend to prefer to form small single-sex Black Blocs, ensuring greater solidarity among themselves.

Black Blocs and the media

One of the arguments used to discredit Black Blocs is that they get media attention at the expense of non-violent protest. Yet experts in the sociology of communication have observed that the peaceful protests are often overlooked by journalists, who rarely report their demands.

And so the media obsession with Black Blocs apparently benefits all the protest movements. It’s also important to remember the results of a 2010 study on the media fallout of the 1999 Seattle Black Bloc: The overexposure of “anarchists” led to a substantial increase in visits to websites associated with anarchy (Indymedia, Infoshop, etc.)

In Brazil in 2013, hundreds of thousands of people visited the Facebook pages of local Black Blocs.

Black Blocs also publish news releases on independent media, explaining their causes and choice of targets — for example, multinationals exploiting workers and polluting the Earth, banks making profits off our collective debt, police protecting the political elite and private companies, etc.

But for those already familiar with anarchy politics, words are unnecessary: the target is the message. Black Blocs are a byproduct of the “age of riots,” characterized by a crisis of political legitimacy, austerity, and increasingly militarized police forces. In this context, riots are the language of the unheard, to use the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

What violence?

Some security experts and scholars (those specializing in the Years of Lead in Italy, for example) have suggested that Black Bloc tactics are a gateway to terrorism and polemicists have conflated them with Islamic terrorism.

Yet the anarchist movement long ago renounced the idea of armed struggle, with the apparent exception of the Fire Nuclei in Greece (several members of which are currently in prison) and a clandestine network in Italy.

Furthermore, Black Bloc activists do not share Islamist values. Some even joined Kurdish forces in fighting the Islamic State.

As for Black Bloc violence, from a historical and political sociology standpoint, it is extremely limited and Black Bloc do not peddle in extreme violence used, for instance, in the 1970s by far-left groups. It has even been called “symbolic” by some academics.

Its goal is to desecrate the symbols of capitalism (the windows of banks and multinational clothing or fast food companies, to name some examples) and to defend protesters against potential police violence. Yet in some cases, some participants throw objects at police (rocks, bottles, fireworks and, on rare occasions, Molotov cocktails).

Although the issue of Black Bloc “violence” generates much heated discussion, increasing solidarity with Black Blocs is being observed within social movements.

The teachers’ union in Brazil extended an invitation to Black Bloc protesters when demonstrating, as did Indigenous groups during protests against the Olympic Games on “stolen land” in Vancouver in 2010. Hundreds of people protested alongside the Black Blocs in the French demonstrations against a revised labour law in 2016.

Activists today often uphold the principle of “varied tactics,” which was formally laid down in 2000 by Montreal’s Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC).

“The Black Bloc is dead,” anarchists declared a decade ago in the post-9-11 era of police repression.

That was premature. The Black Bloc is still very much alive and well, and continues to spread from protest to protest and from continent to continent.

By Francis Dupuis-Deri, The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Colombia’s Riot Police Sent Back to School to Learn About Human Rights

written by Adriaan Alsema, June 16, 2017

Members of Colombia’s feared ESMAD riot unit must take compulsory courses in human rights, the country’s State Council ordered while convicting the unit for killing a student during a protest.

The ESMAD unit is one of Colombia’s most feared and loathed police units, because of recurring reports of police brutality and excessive violence in the curbing of social protest.

In the last month alone, the unit was accused of throwing teargas into people’s homes and aiming at protesters’ bodies when western Colombia rose up and protested peacefully to demand an end to chronic state neglect and violence.

In Bogota, the unit used teargas and water cannons to break up a month-long peaceful protest of teachers demanding structural investment in the country’s substandard education system.

In the ruling condemning the execution of a student protester in Cali in 2005, the National Government was ordered to submit each of the country’s riot police units to compulsory schooling on human rights, after reminding authorities that public manifestations are Colombians’ constitutional right.


The mere taking part in a civilian protest does not represent a transgression of legal order since the inhabitants [of Colombia] have the right to express their dissent to measures adopted by state authorities.

Council of State

The court also urged the Prosecutor General’s Office to re-open the homicide investigation that was closed before going to court, but is now investigated by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights of the Organization of American States.


The damage that result from this kind of reproachable behavior must be known, judged and repaired before civilian justice, before submitting the victims of the armed conflict to the wearisome burden of demanding a conviction in international courts., in addition to the fact that this circumstance leaves the Colombian justice system ill-served and is portrayed before the international community as an instance lacking efficiency, suitability and social legitimacy.

Council of State

Colombia’s Congress last year debated a proposal to disband the controversial unit, but the bill never made it to the final vote.

Colombia Reports

[SOURCE]

Standing Rock and the Battle Beyond

An insight into the battle for Native American land rights as protests continue against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Staff |  Dec 27, 2016

For months, Native Americans have been protesting against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a multibillion-dollar construction project that tribal leaders say is threatening sacred sites, as well as the tribe’s source of drinking water.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the federal government failed to properly consult with them before issuing permits for the pipeline.

All the women and children were along the line crying, they had just gone through pepper spraying everybody… people then started pushing as the [attack] dogs were coming. – Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, founder, Sacred Stone Camp

Protests against the project have been growing since April and began when a handful of people set up camp, just south of the proposed pipeline on the land of Ladonna Brave Bull Allard.

When the Army Corps approved the first major permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Allard received a 48-hour heads up, warning her of work commencing on the pipeline. It was then that the Sioux took the Army Corps to federal court – Allard called in for reinforcements using a social media video, calling people to stand with the cause.

Since then, thousands of people, including tribes across the US, have joined historic demonstrations in support of the Sioux.

In December, the Obama administration handed them a victory, denying a final permit the company needed and saying different routes for the pipeline would be sought.

But the election of Donald Trump has cast doubt on that decision, and the company in charge of constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline says it isn’t backing down.

Fault Lines examines the case against the pipeline, connecting it to other fights being waged by US tribes that have helped build the growing movement at Standing Rock.

Editor’s note: We have used archive footage in this Fault Lines episode from Democracy Now! and Unicorn Riot.

Source: Al Jazeera

US Army Corps: Those Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline Will Not Be Forcibly Removed

2016-11-16t003339z_1_lynxmpecaf00m_rtroptp_2_north-dakota-pipeline-jpg-cf

Protesters block a highway during a protest in Mandan against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, North Dakota, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Army Corps seeking peaceful transition to free speech zone

By Red Power Media, Staff | Nov 28, 2016

Water protectors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota vowed Saturday to remain in their camp after the US Army Corps of Engineers told them to leave the federal land they’ve occupied.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday, Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered a mandatory evacuation of protesters seeking to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, but both the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they have no plans for “forcible removal” of the protesters.

The Army Corps provided an update Sunday, on their plans to close off their land involved in protests against the Energy Transfer Partners LP, pipeline project.

According to Aljazeera, the Army Corps which manages the government land where the main camp protesting the Dakota Access pipeline is located, said last week it would close public access to the area on Dec 5.

RELATED:

On Sunday, the Army Corps said it had no plans to “forcibly remove” anyone who remains, though a statement said that to do so was risky. The statement said anyone who remained would be considered unauthorized and could be subject to various citations.

Although the order said people who defy it could face legal consequences, officials said Monday the state also would not seek to forcibly remove people.

Citing increased violence between water protectors and law enforcement and the increasingly harsh winter conditions, on Friday the Army Corps said it decided to close its land to the protesters who have been there since early April.

The Corps, has established a free speech zone on land south of the Cannonball River and is seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to the safer location.

This transition is also necessary to protect the general public from the dangerous confrontations between demonstrators and law enforcement officials which have occurred near this area. “Unfortunately, it is apparent that more dangerous groups have joined this protest and are provoking conflict in spite of the public pleas from Tribal leaders. We are working to transition those engaged in peaceful protest from this area and enable law enforcement authorities to address violent or illegal acts as appropriate to protect public safety,” said Omaha District Commander, Col. John Henderson.

Free Speech Area. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

Free Speech Area. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

The Army Corps, asked the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, in a letter to tell members of his tribe, along with supporters there, to move to a free speech zone, — which is slightly more than 41 acres and provides clearer jurisdiction for police, fire and medical units.

MPR News reports, Oceti Sakowin is on federal land, but according to treaties cited by tribal leaders, the land and the rivers belonged to the Sioux Tribe.

Archambault II and other protest organizers made it clear that they planned to stay in the Oceti Sakowin camp — one of three camps near the pipeline construction site.

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Nick Tilsen with the Indigenous Peoples Power Project, pictured here on Nov. 26, 2016, says Native Americans are not going to move out of Oceti Sakowin Camp “unless it’s on our own terms because this is our treaty land.” Doualy Xaykaothao | MPR News

As news of the Army Corps’ intention to shut down the camp spread over the weekend, people like environmental activist Nick Tilsen expressed renewed resolve.

“Indigenous people are here to stay,” he said.

Tribal elders call the Standing Rock protest movement a spiritual war and rebirth for Native Americans everywhere.

An Oglala Sioux member from South Dakota, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “We have every right to be here to protect our land and to protect our water.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, believe the Dakota Access pipeline could contaminate their water source, the Missouri River, and desecrate the tribe’s sacred sites.

Dakota Access Pipeline Set To Begin Final Stretch, Mobilizing To Drill Under Missouri River

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and supporters confront bulldozers working on the Dakota Access pipeline in September. (AFP/Getty Images file photo)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and supporters confront bulldozers working on the Dakota Access pipeline in September. (AFP/Getty Images file photo)

Dakota Access preparing for tunneling under Missouri River within weeks

By Red Power Media, Staff | Nov 09, 2016

Energy Transfer Partners, the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is reportedly preparing to start construction on the final stretch of the $3.7 billion pipeline project.

Dakota Access released a statement last night, saying construction is now complete on both sides of the Lake Oahe crossing. The pipeline operator is moving equipment to prepare for the tunneling under Lake Oahe — a dammed section of the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

According to the release, Dakota Access expects to have fully mobilized all equipment needed to drill under the Missouri River within 2 weeks.

Federal regulators have not yet given the company the green light to start construction work. The pipeline operator is still awaiting an easement for land next to the lake, but the company said it “remains confident that it will receive the easement for these two strips of land adjacent to Lake Oahe in a time frame that will not result in any significant delay.”

Dakota Access also refuted a comment reportedly given by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the company had agreed to slow construction.

Energy Transfer told Reuters that the Army Corps statement was a “mistake” and the Corps “intends to rescind it.”

In September, following protests by Environmentalists and Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Army Corps asked Energy Transfer to voluntarily halt all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe. But the company ignored the request and pressed on toward the Missouri River, arguing that they had received all the necessary permits and approvals from the Army Corps and did not intend to stop.

Watch Drone Footage of Dakota Access Pipeline Approaching Missouri River:

https://vimeo.com/189876726%20

On October 31, President Barack Obama said the Army Corps is considering a reroute of the Dakota Access pipeline in this area and will let federal agency regulatory processes “play out” in the next several weeks. It remains unclear how the pipeline could be rerouted if construction is already occurring up to the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, has long argued that the Dakota Access pipeline threatens sacred lands, cultural artifacts and will pollute water supplies.

Today, Forum News Service reported, staff from the North Dakota Public Service Commission have proposed a $15,000 fine for Dakota Access for potential permit violations after the company failed to notify the commission about cultural artifacts discovered in the pipeline route in Morton County on Oct. 17.

Map of the Dakota Access Pipeline Route

Map of the Dakota Access Pipeline Route

Lake Oahe, the body of water at the heart of the protests, straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota.

This last phase of construction will join the two already-completed sections of the pipeline.

On Nov. 7, Unicorn Riot documented active pipeline construction that could be seen from the main Oceti Sakowin encampment.

The Dakota Access pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

UPDATE:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers renewed its call Wednesday, Nov. 9, for Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to voluntarily stop construction near Lake Oahe, citing concerns for people involved with continued protests north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

“We are concerned over recent statements from DAPL regarding our request to voluntarily stop work, which are intended to diffuse tensions surrounding their operations near Corps-managed federal land until we have a clear path forward,” said Col. John W. Henderson, commander of the Omaha district, in a statement released late Wednesday.

Representatives from the Army Corps also have met recently with tribal officials and agreed to work proactively to defuse tensions between demonstrators and law enforcement, Henderson said.

“We again ask DAPL to voluntarily cease operations in this area as their absence will help reduce these tensions,” Henderson said.

RCMP Intelligence Centre Compiled List Of 89 Indigenous Rights Activists Considered “Threats”

(A line of Mi’kmaq demonstrators and their supporters confront a line of RCMP officers on Hwy 11 on Nov 18, 2013, near Elsipogtog First Nation. APTN/File)

(A line of Mi’kmaq demonstrators and their supporters confront a line of RCMP officers on Hwy 11 on Nov 18, 2013, near Elsipogtog First Nation. APTN/File)

Rattled by Idle No More and Mi’kmaq-led anti-shale gas demonstrations, the RCMP compiled a list of 89 individuals considered “threats” as part of an operation aimed at improving the federal police force’s intelligence capacity when facing Indigenous rights demonstrations, according to an internal intelligence report.

The operation, dubbed Project SITKA, was launched in early 2014 to identify key individuals “willing and capable of utilizing unlawful tactics” during Indigenous rights demonstrations, according to the RCMP report, obtained under the Access to Information Act by two researchers working on a book about state surveillance of Indigenous peoples. The intelligence report was to provide a “snapshot of individual threats associated to Aboriginal public order events” for that year.

The report, completed in 2015 by the Mounties’ National Intelligence Coordination Centre, recommended the RCMP remove Indigenous rights activism from the terrorism-extremism umbrella and instead create a new category for intelligence gathering on the issue. The report also recommended the RCMP maintain updated profiles on identified Indigenous rights activists in police databases.

“I think that this is coming out of the fallout in 2013 with the Idle No More uprising and what happened at the end of the year with Elsipogtog,” said Andy Crosby, the Ottawa-based researcher who obtained the document along with Jeffrey Monaghan, an assistant criminology professor at Carleton University. “This really had an impact on the psyche of the settler state.”

The researchers obtained the RCMP report in an Access to Information request package from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

The RCMP did not provide comment on the report as of this article’s posting.

CSIS did not respond to a request for comment.

RCMP template for Indigenous rights demonstrator profiles

_rcmpthreats

Download (PDF, 96KB)

The RCMP intelligence report concluded there was no central organizing individual or group directing Indigenous demonstrations, but found instead a “loose network of protestors with affiliated organizations” that often reacted to local grassroots grievances.

The report noted there were “several influential individuals within the network, a core group that demonstrated a level of stability in their networks, attendance and organization of events.”

The intelligence officers who compiled the report found no “intentional criminal nexus” or “indication of organized crime exploiting the loose network associated to Aboriginal protests to pursue a criminal agenda.”

The RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre was designated to lead Project SITKA in conjunction with Community and Aboriginal Policing, according to the report which was finalized in March 2015.

SITKA was launched “as part of the response to reducing the threat, incidence and prevalence of serious criminality associated to Aboriginal public order, events as well as to protect and facilitate the right to lawful advocacy, protest and dissent,” said the report.

The beginning of 2013 saw the tail-end of the Idle No More movement’s most spectacular demonstrations and ended with a major flare-up near the Mi’kmaq First Nation of Elsipogtog in New Brunswick over shale gas exploration in the region. The anti-shale gas demonstrations culminated in a heavily armed RCMP raid on Oct. 17, 2013, of a protest camp near Rexton, NB. The demonstrations, which lasted several months, saw dozens of arrests and a highway blocked with burning tires.

The main motive behind the anti-shale gas demonstrations—fears hydraulic fracturing threatened the region’s water—is essentially the same as those of the current ongoing demonstrations in North Dakota. There, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fears an oil pipeline threatens its water supply because it will run beneath the Missouri River.

Idle No More march on Dec. 21, 2012 in Ottawa.

Idle No More march on Dec. 21, 2012 in Ottawa.

In January 2014 the RCMP designated Indigenous rights demonstrations as a National Tactical Intelligence Priority.

Using internal files from its divisions across the country, information from other law enforcement agencies and publicly available data, the National Intelligence Coordination Centre created a list of 313 individuals who posed a potential “criminal threat to Aboriginal public order events.” The list was reduced to 89 individuals, both non-Indigenous and Indigenous, who met the RCMP’s criteria. The criteria was based on background, motivation and rhetoric “to have committed or commit criminal activities” in connection with Indigenous rights demonstrations.

It’s apparent the events of Elsipogtog weighed on the minds of the intelligence officers compiling the report. Thirty-five of the 89 individuals on the list were from New Brunswick. British Columbia was next with 16 people on the list, followed by Ontario with 15, Manitoba with 11, Nova Scotia with 10, one from Saskatchewan and one from Prince Edward Island.

The report also linked the majority of the individuals on the list with the Unist’ot’en camp in British Columbia, which is anchored by the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation. The camp has dug in over the past six years in an area along the routes of two proposed natural gas pipelines and a proposed oil pipeline. The camp sits about 66 km south of Houston, B.C., and about 1,000 km north of Vancouver.

The other groups linked by the RCMP to the 89 include the Defenders of the Land, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, Idle No More, No One is Illegal, the Manitoba Warriors gang and the Council of Canadians, among others.

The RCMP intelligence officers spent six months, from April to September 2014, creating “protestor profiles” for each of the individuals on the final list. The profiles included each individual’s name, photograph, alias, date of birth, age, height, weight, phone number, email address, affiliations, vehicles, history of demonstrations, ability to move across the country and “category of protestor.”

The RCMP has three categories for demonstrators: passive, meaning law abiding; disruptive, meaning willing to employ non-violent tactics; and volatile, meaning willing to provoke police reaction.

The profiles were filed into two databases—the Automated Intelligence Information System and the Police Reporting and Occurrence System—accessible to front-line RCMP police officers, analysts and other law enforcement agencies.

The intelligence report also analyzed the last five years of protest history for those on the list and found they were involved in 69 events, including demonstrations against the G8 and G20 and oil pipelines along with involvement in campaigns calling for a national inquiry into the disproportionate number of murdered and missing Indigenous women.

The intelligence report recommended the RCMP stop employing the language of terrorism and extremism to describe tactics used in Indigenous rights demonstrations that are “specifically criminal in nature.” The report recommended the RCMP develop a specific category for these types of demonstrations and targeted individuals to ensure “that peaceful and law-abiding individuals engaged in acts of legitimate dissent will not be investigated or analyzed for the purpose of identifying serious criminality.”

The report also recommended law enforcement brush up on the systemic issues that often trigger Indigenous rights demonstrations.

“Currently assumptions can be made for the causal root of protests; however, without a clear holistic analysis of root causes within a community, this will remain unknown,” said the report. “(It) is recommended that a holistic community analysis methodology be implemented in Aboriginal communities where the RCMP has a policing presence. This community analysis will not only provide information on where the next potential protest would occur….It also enables communities to actively engage, communicate and cooperate with police on a spectrum of topics and issues that have the potential to lead to grievances or miscommunication.”

Crosby and Monaghan’s book will be published by Fernwood Publishing.

By Jorge Barrera, APTN National News

[SOURCE]

Family says Red Fawn Fallis, Innocent of Attempted Murder on Police at ND Pipeline Protest

The family of Red Fawn Fallis, the woman arrested during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests demand her release and say she is not guilty of all charges: Mark Boyle Denver7/Facebook

The family of Red Fawn Fallis, the woman arrested during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests demand her release and say she is not guilty of all charges: Mark Boyle Denver7 /Facebook

By Red Power Media, Staff | Nov 07, 2016

Red Fawn Fallis, was arrested along with 140 other protesters on Oct. 27, near the Standing Rocking Sioux reservation in North Dakota. When police closed in during a mass arrest to remove water protectors from private property, Fallis, allegedly pulled out a .38 revolver and fired at officers.

Fallis, a 37yr old, Native American woman from Denver, is being held at the Morton County jail on a $100,000 bond. Police claim she had a concealed gun and fired twice towards two Minnesota police officerswho were working at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

Fallis, was formally charged with attempted murder of an officer on Oct 31.

The charge, could result in a 20-year prison sentence.

On Monday, her family spoke out for the first time since the incident.

According to the Denver Post, the family of Fallis said she didn’t have a gun and the officers, who considered her an instigator, unjustly targeted her for arrest.

“There is no evidence there was a gun,” said Glenn Morris, a leader in the American Indian Movement of Colorado, during a Monday morning news conference.

According to her arrest affidavit, the deputies were going to arrest Fallis because she was “being an instigator and acting disorderly.”

She struggled and they brought her to the ground. While they were trying to cuff her, two shots were fired. A deputy saw the gun in Fallis’ left hand and wrestled the gun away from her, according to the affidavit.

Fallis, an Oglala Lakota Sioux, is a American Indian Movement member with roots in the organization.

The family has a strong tradition of fighting for the rights of American Indians, Morris said.

Loma Star Cleveland, who is the little sister of Red Fawn Fallis, joins others at press conference, at 4 Winds American Indian Council in Denver, to show support for Red Fawn, a Denver Native American woman arrested during pipeline protest in North Dakota, November 07, 2016. Red Fawn Fallis remains in jail in North Dakota after being arrested.

Loma Star Cleveland, who is the little sister of Red Fawn Fallis, joins others at press conference, at 4 Winds American Indian Council in Denver, to show support for Red Fawn, a Denver Native American woman arrested during pipeline protest in North Dakota, November 07, 2016.

Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, Fallis’ mother, was a member of the American Indian advocacy group AIM since the late 1970s and was at the group’s 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

Yellow Wood died a few weeks ago, said Loma Cleveland, Fallis’ younger sister.

Fallis has told her family not to worry because she is innocent, Cleveland said.

According to the Guardian, on Oct 22, when police arrested more than 120 people protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, Lauren Howland, was caught in the middle of the violence and chaos, and suffered a broken wrist when, she said, an officer attacked her.

Fallis, known as a mother to many of the youth at the Standing Rock protest, “personally came back into the frontlines and wheeled us all out”, Howland, 21, recalled. “She’s a protector.”

Supporters said she made a point of reminding youth activists to stay “peaceful and prayerful” and never resort to violence. She had a four-wheeler vehicle and often helped rescue protesters who needed medical attention during police confrontations.

Lauren Howland, with broken wrist suffered at the pipeline protest. Photograph: Sam Levin for the Guardian

Lauren Howland, with broken wrist suffered at the pipeline protest. Photograph: Sam Levin for the Guardian

Howland and other youth protesters said they were devastated to find out a week later that local police had arrested Fallis and charged her with attempted murder.

“Red Fawn has continually supported the youth council since its inception and is responsible for personally rescuing many of our members from the front lines after being brutalized by police.” – International Indigenous Youth Council

Fallis has been involved in the fight against the oil pipeline, which would run beneath the Missouri river near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, since demonstrations began.

Members of the tribe say the pipeline’s construction would trample on sacred lands, destroy artifacts and potentially poison waterways, including the Missouri river and Lake Oahe.

Since an escalating series of recent clashes between law enforcement and water protectors, the Morton County sheriff’s office has held up the charges against Fallis, as an example of what it says is the violent and illegal behavior of Native American protesters.

To some pipeline protesters, who described Fallis as a passionate activist dedicated to peaceful tactics, her detention is the latest sign that North Dakota police are aggressively targeting a growing movement and will go to great lengths to protect a powerful corporation threatening sacred tribal lands.

Red Fawn Fallis. ‘It doesn’t surprise me that they are targeting Red Fawn, because she’s definitely an asset to our community,’ said protester Eryn Wise. Photograph: Courtesy of Eryn Wise

Red Fawn Fallis. Photograph: Courtesy of Eryn Wise

On the same day the Morton County Sheriff’s Department announced the charges against Fallis, officials also stated Kyle Thompson, a contractor with the North Dakota Access pipeline company, would not face charges after being detained with an assault rifle.

Thompson was caught on video holding the rifle during an altercation with demonstrators.

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The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said Thompson may have been the victim in the incident and an investigation is ongoing.

Fallis is the first demonstrator to be charged with an offense linked to the use of a firearm. In addition to the attempted murder charge, she is also facing one count of preventing arrest, a count of carrying a concealed weapon and a count of possession of marijuana.

Fallis’ family and supporters say the charges against her are false and she was picked out of a crowd because of her strong personality and opinions about water protection.

“They recognized her leadership as a young, indigenous woman who a lot of younger indigenous people looked to for example in leadership. So that identifies her as a target in their mind, I believe,”- Glenn Morris, AIM Colorado

On social media, many have supported Fallis with the hashtag #FreeRedFawn and some have compared her to Leonard Peltier, a native activist and former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of aiding in the killing of two FBI agents in 1975.

Red Fawn Fallis, remains in Morton County jail, as her family asks for support and, ultimately for her release.