Red Fawn Fallis Sentenced to 57 months in Federal prison

Red Fawn Fallis

Red Fawn Fallis has been sentenced for her role in a shooting incident during the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

According to media reports, Fallis, 39, was sentenced Wednesday to four years and nine months in federal prison.

Fallis, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, was accused of firing a handgun three times while resisting arrest on Oct. 27, 2016. No one was hurt.

She pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to civil disorder and illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon. Prosecutors agreed to drop another weapons charge.

Prosecutors were recommending seven years in prison, though U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland could have gone as high as 15 years.

Fallis did not get credit for time served in a halfway house after she was arrested in January for violating her pretrial release agreement. Judge Hovland says he is recommending placement in Phoenix or Tucson, Ariz.

Fallis is also sentenced to three years of supervised probation after her release; including special conditions of drug and alcohol treatment and treatment for mental health issues.

The sentence can be appealed within 14 days of the judgement being signed.

Fallis’s arrest was one of 761 that authorities made during the height of the Dakota Access pipeline protests near Standing Rock, North Dakota in 2016 and 2017.

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Canadian Indigenous Activist in North Dakota Court to face Standing Rock Charges

Kanahus Manuel is in a North Dakota court today to face charges after she participated in the Standing Rock protests last year. (Carrie Cervantes)

Kanahus Manuel was arrested near the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline Oct. 22

A Secwepemc activist from B.C. is in a North Dakota court today to face charges stemming from her involvement with protests in Standing Rock.

Kanahus Manuel was among dozens of people arrested near the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline last Oct. 22.

She faces charges of criminal trespass, engaging in a riot, obstruction of a governmental function, disobedience of a public safety order during riot conditions and disorderly conduct.

“They’re bogus charges. It wasn’t a riot,” Manuel told CBC via telephone after travelling to Mandan, ND from B.C.

“On the day I was arrested, it was during a prayer walk away from the pipeline.”

The sun was rising as the police began to make arrests, she said.

“It was really violent,” she said. “We had elders, women and pregnant women. It was a peaceful march, we were singing.

“The police started to mobilize…they came over the hill like a war movie. They looked like war machines to us as civilians having not ever seen these machines before. We started to retreat because they were overpowering us.”

Manuel spent the day and night in jail and was released the next day. Two weeks later, she plead not guilty to the charges against her.

“I believe that these are major human and Indigenous rights violations. Because when native people stand up to say ‘no’ to these development projects, whether it’s in Canada with the Kinder Morgan project or here with the North Dakota Access Pipeline, if we are really following international standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People then these corporations and governments need the collective free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous People, and they don’t have it. Indigenous People have said no.”

Facing charges

This isn’t the first time Manuel has faced criminal charges related to defending Indigenous rights.

In 2002 she was sentenced to three months in the Burnaby Women’s Institute for protesting the construction of the Sun Peaks Resort in her home territory, citing threats to traditional hunting grounds.

Manuel has also protested on the front lines against well-known development projects in B.C. like the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and the Mount Polley tailings spill disaster by Imperial Metals.

Manuel said she’s headed to the courthouse with a fearless attitude, carrying the prayers of her supporters and holding onto her faith in traditional ceremonies to help get her through.

“I’m going in with no fear. I’m not scared to speak the truth.”

She stressed she’s not alone, and hundreds more are going through similar struggles since the events at Standing Rock.

“There’s a lot of arrest warrants out, people on the run. It’s wrong — these are young people that are protecting their land and culture. Standing Rock wasn’t just about stopping a pipeline, it was about building a massive convergence of native people to bring back our culture and to stand up together.”

By Brandi Morin, CBC News Posted: Oct 03, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

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

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

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

May 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security forces had infiltrators working for them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are still at it.

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

Such revelations only corroborated the water protectors’ experience.

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

[SOURCE]

Memory, Fire and Hope: Five Lessons from Standing Rock

“The ongoing struggle will not go down in the flames at Oceti Sakowin,” writes Ladha. (Photo: Stephen Yang/Getty Images)

The North Dakota camp may have been evicted but the movement hasn’t lost. Here are five lessons activists around the world can learn from the water protectors.

by Alnoor Ladha | Common Dreams, March 08, 2017

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” —Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Last week, on February 22, 2017, water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the primary camp of Standing Rock, were evicted by the Army Corps of Engineers in a military style takeover. A peaceful resistance that began with a sacred fire lit on April 1, 2016, ended in a blaze as some of the protectors, in a final act of defiance, set some of the camp’s structures on fire.

“The neoliberal capitalist system has failed the majority of humanity and a new world is emerging.”

The millions of people around the world who have stood in solidarity and empathy with Standing Rock now stand in disbelief and grief, but the forced closure of the encampment is simply the latest chapter in a violent, 500-year-old history of colonization against the First Nations. It is also the latest chapter in the battle between an extractive capitalist model and the possibility of a post-capitalist world.

Of course, the ongoing struggle will not go down in the flames at Oceti Sakowin. We should take this opportunity to remember the enduring lessons of this movement, and prepare ourselves for what is to come next.

1. There is a global convergence of movements

When I visited Standing Rock in October 2016, it struck me that this was the most diverse political gathering I’d ever seen. Over 300 North American tribes had came together for the first time in history. Standing alongside them were over 100 Indigenous communities from all over the globe. A contingent from the Sami people, the Indigenous peoples of Scandinavia, had traversed the Atlantic to show their support the day I arrived. They were joined by black bloc anarchists, New Age spiritualists, traditional environmentalists, union organizers and ordinary Americans who have never attended a protest.

The media has characterized Standing Rock as a one-off protest against a pipeline in North Dakota. But the reality is that the various movements from around the world including the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, the Pink Tide in Latin America, the landless people’s movement from India, the anti-austerity movement in Europe, the global Occupy movement, and the countless awakenings” spreading across the African continent are uniting as expressions of the same impulse: a belief that the neoliberal capitalist system has failed the majority of humanity and a new world is emerging.

2. A more holistic activism is emerging

With its sacred fire, daily prayers and water ceremonies, Standing Rock has helped to reanimate the sacred aspect of activism. We are seeing a shift from resistance to resistance and renewal simultaneously. Progressive movements which once internalized the Neitzchean dictum that “God is dead” are now evolving their positions. As the anarchist philosopher Hakim Bey states: “As Capital triumphs over the Social as against all spiritualities, spirituality itself finds itself realigned with revolution.”There is a shift to embracing a more holistic activism that transcends traditional Cartesian duality and calls upon greater forces. Cedric Goodhouse, an elder at Standing Rock put it simply, saying: “We are governed by prayer.”

“The particular ways in which Standing Rock embodied non-violent direct action has given many activists a new faith in the possibility of a more sacred activism.”

The particular ways in which Standing Rock embodied non-violent direct action has given many activists a new faith in the possibility of a more sacred activism. I stood with dozens of water protectors when they prayed on water in front of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) engineers while they were laying down oil pipeline. The very act of seeing Indigenous elders praying on water said more about the implications of an extractive pipeline than any linear argument. They dropped their tools not only because they wanted to avoid confrontation, but because somehow they understood they were on the wrong side of the moral calculus.

The author Charles Eisenstein reminds us of a powerful insight about sacred activism that has been embodied in Standing Rock: “We need to confront an unjust, ecocidal system. Each time we do we will receive an invitation to give in to the dark side and hate ‘the deplorables.’ We must not shy away from those confrontations. Instead, we can engage them empowered by the inner mantra that my friend Pancho Ramos-Stierle uses in confrontations with his jailers: ‘Brother, your soul is too beautiful to be doing this work.’ If we can stare hate in the face and never waver from that knowledge, we will access inexhaustible tools of creative engagement, and hold a compelling invitation to the haters to fulfill their beauty.”

3. Occupation of space is a critical tactic

Even before Occupy there has been a renaissance in the political understanding of the value of place and space. The battlegrounds between the corporate/state nexus and people’s movements are physical realms: the places where resources are being extracted, water is being polluted and capitalist interests are expanding through what Marxist geographer, David Harvey, calls “accumulation by dispossession.”

The occupation of space creates a physical spectacle that forces the corporate media to tell the stories it would otherwise like to ignore. It creates networks of solidarity and deep relationships that span beyond the time and space of the occupation. It creates inter-generational transfers-of-knowledge, both politically and spiritually. It weaves the connective tissue for the continued resistance against corporate (and other imperialist) power.

Standing Rock will be remembered by the thousands of activists who braved blizzards to sleep in tipis, who cooked food together in the communal kitchens, and celebrated in song and ceremony with tribal elders around the sacred fire. As the activist Reverend Billy Talen recently stated: “Zuccotti Park and the stretch of sidewalk in front of the Ferguson police department and the meadow near the Sacred Stone… these three places are lived in. Here is where activists cared for each other and shared food, clothing and medicine. The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight.”

4. We are Nature protecting itself

Part of the on-going colonial legacy of North America is a battle between the mute materialism of capitalism that seeks to dominate nature and the symbiotic approach of Indigenous thought that sees Nature as alive, and sees human beings as playing a central role in the evolution and stewardship of the broader whole. It is this very worldview that rationalists derisively call “animist” and that continues to confound the utility maximization ideals of modern thought.

Indigenous lands are increasingly going to be a battleground not only for resource extraction, but ideology itself. Although Indigenous peoples represent about 4% of the world’s population they live on and protect 22% of the Earth’s surface. Critically, the land inhabited by Indigenous peoples holds the remaining 80% of the planet’s biodiversity.

“The idea that we are not protestors, but protectors of the sacred is a central theme that resonates throughout the world.”

It is no coincidence that ETP moved away from its early proposal to have the DAPL project cross the Missouri river just north of Bismarck, a primarily white city, to the Standing Rock area inhabited by the Sioux tribe.

During COP 21 in Paris, Indigenous youth groups carried banners that read: “We are Nature protecting itself.” The idea that we are not protestors, but protectors of the sacred is a central theme that resonates throughout the world.

In a powerful article on the Sacred Stone blog, the camp’s founder Ladonna Bravebull Allard said: “This movement is not just about a pipeline. We are not fighting for a reroute, or a better process in the white man’s courts. We are fighting for our rights as the Indigenous peoples of this land; we are fighting for our liberation, and the liberation of Unci Maka, Mother Earth. We want every last oil and gas pipe removed from her body. We want healing. We want clean water. We want to determine our own future.”

These ideals are not just Indigenous ideals; they are ideals linked with our very survival as a species. In a world of catastrophic climate change, protecting the sacred must be the mantra of all activists and concerned citizens.

5. There is a common antagonist

Although the various social movements around the world are portrayed as separate incidents that are particular to their local context, there is a growing awareness among movements themselves that we are uniting against the same antagonist: the deadly logic of late-stage capitalism.

Whether one is fighting for land rights in India or tax justice in Kenya or to stop a pipeline in the US, the ‘enemy’ is the same: a cannibalistic global economy that requires perpetual extraction, violence, oppression, in the service of GDP growth, which in turn, benefits a tiny elite at the expense of the world’s majority.

“The sacred fire at Standing Rock may now be smoldering but it’s reverberations are only beginning to be felt.”

There is a Algonquin word, wetiko, that refers to a cannibalistic spirit that consumes the heart of man. It was a common term used when the First Nations of North America initially interacted with the Western European colonialists. The spirit of wetiko, like many memetic thought-forms, has mutated and evolved, and has now become the animating force of the global capitalist system. We are not just fighting a pipeline; we are fighting the wetiko spirit that has taken hold of our planet like invisible architecture.

What Standing Rock achieved so beautifully was to provide this broader context, to ladder up a local struggle for clean water to the struggle against the forces of wetiko itself. Wetiko is inherently anti-life. And what we are all fighting for is a new system that recognizes our interdependence with the Earth and with each other, and that allows our highest selves to flourish.

The sacred fire at Standing Rock may now be smoldering but it’s reverberations are only beginning to be felt. As Julian Brave NoiseCat poignantly states in his reflections on the impact of this historical movement: “They have lit a fire on the prairie in the heart of America as a symbol of their resistance, a movement that stands for something that is undoubtedly right: water that sustains life, and land that gave birth to people.”

This is the enduring power of Standing Rock. It has created inextinguishable hope, activated our historical memory and created new forms of power by the profound act of starting a global movement from a single sacred fire. The fires of Standing Rock are illuminating the transition that lies ahead and the new society that is emerging from its ashes.

Federal Judge Won’t Stop Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

A building burns after being set alight by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux had argued that construction under Lake Oahe violates their right to practice their religion, which relies on clean water

The Associated Press | March 7, 2017

A federal judge declined Tuesday to temporarily stop construction of the final section of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, clearing the way for oil to flow as soon as next week.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux had asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permission for Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners to lay pipe under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The stretch under the Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota is the last piece of construction for the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois.

The tribes argued that construction under the lake violates their right to practice their religion, which relies on clean water, and they wanted the work suspended until the claim could be resolved.

When they filed the lawsuit last summer, the tribes argued that the pipeline threatens Native American cultural sites and their water supply. Their religion argument was new, however, and disputed by both the Corps and the company.

Boasberg in his ruling Tuesday said the tribes didn’t raise the religion argument in a timely fashion.

“Only once Dakota Access had built up to the water’s edge and the Corps had granted the easement (for drilling) to proceed did Cheyenne River inform defendants that the pipeline was the realization of a long-held prophecy about a Black Snake and that the mere presence of oil in the pipeline under the lakebed would interfere with tribe’s members’ ability to engage in important religious practices,” the judge said.

Boasberg said he is likely to allow the tribes to continue making the religion argument, though he doesn’t think it’s likely to succeed.

“Although the tribe’s members may feel unable to use the water from Lake Oahe in their religious ceremonies once the pipeline is operational, there is no specific ban on their religious exercise,” he said.

In February, Boasberg declined the tribes’ request to order an immediate halt to the pipeline construction, ruling that as long as oil wasn’t flowing through the pipeline, there was no imminent harm to the tribes.

Tribal attorney Nicole Ducheneaux countered in court documents that the mere existence of an oil pipeline under the reservoir the tribes consider to be “sacred waters” violated their right to practice their religion.

The court battle isn’t over, as no final decision has been made on the merits of the tribes’ overall claims. Both tribes also have asked Boasberg to overturn the federal permission for the Lake Oahe crossing and to bar the Corps from granting permission in the future. The judge won’t rule until at least April.

The pipeline saga has endured for months. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of pipeline opponents who sided with tribal opposition to the pipeline camped on federal land near the drill site for months, often clashing with police. There have been about 750 arrests in the region since August. Authorities last month closed the camp in advance of spring flooding season and set up roadblocks to prevent protesters from returning.

Work under Lake Oahe had been held up in the courts until President Donald Trump last month instructed the Corps to advance construction. The Army is involved because its engineering branch manages the river and its system of hydroelectric dams, which is owned by the federal government.

ETP began drilling under the lake Feb. 8. Company attorney William Scherman said in court documents that the pipeline could be moving oil as early as next week.

[SOURCE]

U.N. Investigator: Native American Rights Violated by DAPL Law Enforcement

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz visited Dakota Access protest camps in Morton County.

Tauli-Corpuz is the U.N.’s special investigator on the rights of indigenous peoples.

She says authorities used unnecessary force and that the reports of the cleanup in the county have been blown out of proportion.

She also says the Standing Rock Sioux tribe was not consulted on major issues.

Gov. Burgum says the state is focused on maintaining peace, protecting the environment and restoring a good relationship with the tribe.

Tauli-Corpuz’s report will be given in September to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

[SOURCE]

Dakota Access Pipeline Could Start Flowing Oil Within Weeks

This aerial photo shows the Oceti Sakowin camp, where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline on federal land, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

This aerial photo shows the Oceti Sakowin camp, where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline on federal land, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

  • Oil could be flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline in less than two weeks, according to court documents filed by developer Energy Transfer Partners.

By Black Powder | RPM Staff, Feb 24, 2017

The Texas-based company building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline says oil could be flowing in less than two weeks.

The Washington Times reportsAttorneys for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) said in a court-ordered status report Thursday that the final 1,100-foot section is nearly finished, which would enable the 1,172-mile, four-state pipeline to begin operations months ahead of previous estimates.

“Dakota Access reports that the pilot hole is complete,” said the report filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. “The company is currently reaming the hole — i.e., making it larger in order to accept the pipe. As of now, Dakota Access estimates and targets that the pipeline will be complete and ready to flow oil anywhere between the week of March 6, 2017 and April 1, 2017.”

According to The Associated Press, the work under the Missouri River reservoir is the last stretch of the pipeline that will move oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. ETP got permission for the lake work last month from the pro-energy Trump administration, though Native American tribes continue fighting the project in court.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes say the pipeline threatens their drinking water, cultural sites and ability to practice their religion, which depends on pure water.

The tribes have also asked for “meaningful pre-decisional government-to-government consultation.”

This aerial photo provided the Morton County Sheriff's Department shows the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, ND, on Thursday. (Uncredited)

This aerial photo provided the Morton County Sheriff’s Department shows the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, ND, on Thursday. (Uncredited)

Protesters cleared from camp blocking last section of pipeline

Yesterday, dozens of people were arrested as police in full riot gear cleared the Oceti Sakowin camp where opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline had gathered for the better part of a year.

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About 220 officers and 18 National Guardsmen methodically searched protester tents and other temporary homes for remaining holdouts.

Authorities said they arrested 46 people, including a group of military veterans who had to be carried out and a man who climbed atop a building and stayed there for more than an hour before surrendering.

The arrests occurred a day after the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to clear the camp by a 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline.

Shortly before the Wednesday deadline about 150 people left the camp blocking the last section of pipeline.

Police have made more than 700 arrests since protests began.

US Army Formally Ends Study of Disputed Pipeline Crossing Near Standing Rock Reservation

Signs hang in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 24, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters )

Signs hang in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 24, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters )

Authorities want the area cleaned before spring floodwaters wash trash into nearby rivers

The Associated Press | Feb 17, 2017

The U.S. Army on Friday formally ended further environmental study of the Dakota Access oil pipeline’s disputed crossing beneath a Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota.

Meanwhile, its Corps of Engineers branch continued efforts to accelerate cleanup at a protest camp near the drilling site that’s threatened by spring flooding.

The Corps launched the study on Jan. 18 in light of concerns from the Standing Rock Sioux and other Native American tribes that a pipeline leak beneath Lake Oahe would pollute drinking water.

President Donald Trump a week later pushed to advance pipeline construction, and the Army gave Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners permission for the crossing on Feb. 8. Work quickly began on the final chunk of construction.

Pipeline opponents have continued to call for more study despite the fact that ETP has said the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois could be operating as early as next month. More than 100,000 comments had already been submitted for the study, according to the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The Army published notice Friday in the Federal Register that it was scrapping the study.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux also are fighting the pipeline work in court, with the next hearing set for Feb. 28. In the meantime, hundreds of pipeline opponents have continued to occupy a camp near the drilling site in North Dakota.

State and federal authorities have told the few hundred people remaining in the camp to leave by Wednesday. Authorities want the area cleaned and closed before spring floodwaters wash tons of trash and debris into nearby rivers, including the Missouri River, and cause an environmental disaster.

The tribe launched a cleanup effort in late January. The state and Corps were continuing Friday to try to line up additional contractors to speed up the work, according to Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight and Mike Nowatzki, spokesman for Gov. Doug Burgum.

“We’re running out of time,” Hignight said. “We need to ensure that the land is remediated as soon as possible.”

Some in camp think the flood fears are overblown and that authorities are trying to turn public sentiment against them.

“We’re all working hard to get the lower (flood-prone) grounds clear,” said Giovanni Sanchez, a Pennsylvania man who has been at the camp since November. “I think they’re just trying to find any reason to get us out of here.”

The latest spring flood outlook from the National Weather Service, issued Thursday, calls for minor flooding in the area. The outlook doesn’t include flood risks associated with river ice jams, which can’t be predicted.

[SOURCE]

US Veterans Return to Standing Rock to Protect Native Americans Protesting Dakota Access Pipeline

Photo: Veterans Stand For Standing Rock/Facebook

Photo: Veterans Stand For Standing Rock/Facebook

By Black Powder | RPM Staff, Feb 12, 2017

US veterans are returning to Standing Rock to support and protect Native Americans still protesting the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline.

In January, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders to continue the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

According to The Guardian, Veterans from across the country have arrived in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, or are currently en route after the news that Donald Trump’s administration has allowed the oil corporation to finish drilling across the Missouri river.

It is unclear how many vets may arrive to Standing Rock; some organizers estimate a few dozen are on their way, while other activists are pledging that hundreds could show up in the coming weeks.

In December, thousands of veterans descended on Standing Rock to form a “human shield” between increasingly aggressive police and “water protector” protesters.

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Veterans join activists in a march just outside the Oceti Sakowin camp during a snow fall as 'water protectors' continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Veterans join activists in a march just outside the Oceti Sakowin camp during a snow fall as ‘water protectors’ continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

But the presence of vets was not without controversy. Some said the groups were disorganized and unprepared to camp in harsh winter conditions, and others lamented that they weren’t following the directions of the Native Americans leading the movement.

Vets with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also suffered in the cold and chaotic environment without proper support, said Matthew Crane, a US navy veteran who is helping coordinate a return group from VeteransRespond.

His group has vowed to be self-sufficient and help the activists, who call themselves “water protectors”, with a wide range of services, including cleanup efforts, kitchen duties, medical support and, if needed, protection from police.

“This is a humanitarian issue,” said Crane, 33. “We’re not going to stand by and let anybody get hurt.”

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been asking protesters to leave the reservation since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed to do an environmental review in December. This month, when the Bureau of Indian Affairs sent law enforcement to remove protesters, tribal leaders clarified that did not want anyone arrested or removed by force.

RT reports, the Tribe has vowed to fight the president’s order to push ahead with the Dakota Access pipeline despite the US Army Corps of Engineers stating it would cancel its planned environmental impact study and grant a permit for construction of the final phase of the pipeline project being built by Energy Transfer Partners.

According to the U.S. veterans who have headed back to Standing Rock (some who didn’t make it in December), they are there to protect the few hundred remaining, largely Native American, protesters from further attacks by police.

“We are prepared to put our bodies between Native elders and a privatized military force,” Air Force veteran Elizabeth Williams told the Guardian. “We’ve stood in the face of fire before. We feel a responsibility to use the skills we have.”

At Standing Rock, indigenous activists say mass arrests and police violence have led some water protectors to develop PTSD, suffering symptoms that many US veterans understand well.

Police have deployed water cannons, rubber bullets and teargas at water protectors. Private security has used dogs to attack Native American demonstrators. Hundreds of water protectors have been arrested.

Video: VeteransRespond: Road To Standing Rock

Revealed: FBI Terrorism Taskforce Investigating Standing Rock Activists

A permit has been granted for the oil pipeline to cross the Missouri river, following Donald Trump’s executive order. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

A permit has been granted for the oil pipeline to cross the Missouri river, following Donald Trump’s executive order. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

FBI representatives have contacted several ‘water protectors’, raising alarm that an indigenous-led movement is being construed as domestic terrorism

The Guardian | Feb 10, 2017

The FBI is investigating political activists campaigning against the Dakota Access pipeline, diverting agents charged with preventing terrorist attacks to instead focus their attention on indigenous activists and environmentalists.

The Guardian has established that multiple officers within the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce have attempted to contact at least three people tied to the Standing Rock “water protector” movement in North Dakota.

The purpose of the officers’ inquiries into Standing Rock, and scope of the task force’s work, remains unknown. Agency officials declined to comment. But the fact that the officers have even tried to communicate with activists is alarming to free-speech experts who argue that anti-terrorism agents have no business scrutinizing protesters.

“The idea that the government would attempt to construe this indigenous-led non-violent movement into some kind of domestic terrorism investigation is unfathomable to me,” said Lauren Regan, a civil rights attorney who has provided legal support to demonstrators who were contacted by representatives of the FBI. “It’s outrageous, it’s unwarranted … and it’s unconstitutional.”

Regan, who has regularly visited Standing Rock and is the executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center in Oregon, said she learned of three cases in which officers with the taskforce, known as the JTTF, tried to talk to activists in person. She described the encounters as attempted “knocks and talks”, meaning law enforcement showed up at people’s doors without a subpoena or warrant and tried to get them to voluntarily cooperate with an interview.

The three individuals, who include a Native American and a non-indigenous activist, asserted their fifth amendment rights and did not respond to the officers, according to Regan, who declined to identify them to protect their privacy and out of fear of retribution.

 Construction equipment near the Dakota Access pipeline. Workers have begun drilling after the army corps granted the permit necessary. Photograph: Josh Morgan/Reuters

Construction equipment near the Dakota Access pipeline. Workers have begun drilling after the army corps granted the permit necessary. Photograph: Josh Morgan/Reuters

Two of them were contacted in North Dakota and a third at their home outside the state, according to Regan. She said all three contacts were made in recent weeks after Trump’s inauguration.

Trump, a former investor in Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based firm behind the pipeline, took executive action in his first week in office to expedite the project. On Wednesday, workers began drilling to complete the pipeline across the Missouri river.

The JTTF revelation comes at a time when there have been increasing concerns at Standing Rock about law enforcement surveillance, police violence and the targeted arrests and prosecutions of activists.

Since the summer, law enforcement officials have made roughly 700 arrests, in some cases leading to serious felony charges and possibly lengthy state prison sentences. Following recent indictments, at least six activists are now facing charges in federal court. Rumors about JTTF have caused further stress among the activists.

Regan said she was able to confirm the identity of one of the JTTF officers, Andrew Creed, who attempted to contact an activist. Reached by phone, he declined to comment to the Guardian, saying, “I can’t talk to you” before hanging up.

An FBI spokesman, Jeffrey Van Nest, also declined to answer any questions, saying: “We’re not in a position to provide a comment as to the existence of an investigation.”

In November, a JTTF officer also showed up to the hospital room of Sophia Wilansky, a 21-year-old who was seriously injured during a standoff with law enforcement at Standing Rock, according to her father, Wayne Wilansky. The FBI took her clothes and still have not returned them, he said in an interview this week.

Wayne said he suspected that the FBI brought a terrorism agent given that local police had alleged that activists set off an explosion that caused his daughter’s injuries. Witnesses have said they believe she was hit by a police concussion grenade.

The timing of the FBI hospital visit in Minneapolis was upsetting, he added. “It was especially disturbing, because Sophia’s blood pressure was going up. She was about to be wheeled into surgery.”

Activists at Standing Rock have faced blizzard conditions at the camp during the winter months. Photograph: Michael Nigro/Pacific/Barcroft

Activists at Standing Rock have faced blizzard conditions at the camp during the winter months. Photograph: Michael Nigro/Pacific/Barcroft

Police have repeatedly painted the anti-pipeline movement as dangerous, which is why JTTF may be involved, Regan said.

“From the very beginning, local law enforcement has attempted to justify its militarized presence … by making false allegations that somehow these water protectors were violent.”

The attorney said it also seemed likely that JTTF may have contacted other water protectors and said she worried they may not have realized their best option is to remain silent and contact a lawyer.

This is not the first time the JTTF has been tied to an investigation of civil rights protesters. Records from Minnesota suggested that the taskforce monitored a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

For indigenous leaders who have vowed to continue fighting the pipeline on the ground, the FBI investigations and ongoing federal prosecutions have become increasingly worrisome. It’s particularly troubling to some given the US government’s history of aggressively targeting Native American protesters and turning them into political prisoners.

“This is history repeating itself,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who founded the first camp opposing the pipeline. “I keep on thinking, how we did come to this point? … When did Americans lose their rights? When did America stop following the law?”

Brandy-Lee Maxie, a 34-year-old Nakota tribe member from Canada, said it’s difficult not to worry about possible prosecution. But the cause, she said, is too important to give up: “I’m staying here. Whatever happens to those who stay happens. We’ve just gotta keep praying.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/10/standing-rock-fbi-investigation-dakota-access