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Dakota Access Pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) paid a private security firm to build a massive racketeering suit against green groups opposing the pipeline, three former employees confirmed to the Intercept this week.
Documents leaked to The Intercept in May reveal that ETP hired TigerSwan, which was originally founded as a State Department contractor working to "execute the war on terror," to conduct counterterrorism measures on activists, including aerial surveillance on protesters, infiltrating activist groups and developing "counter-information" campaigns.
UPDATE, 5:57 a.m. EDT: According to Reuters: "Police arrested 141 Native Americans and other protesters in North Dakota in a tense standoff that spilled into Friday morning between law enforcement and demonstrators seeking to halt construction of a disputed oil pipeline. Police in riot gear used pepper spray and armored vehicles in an effort to disperse an estimated 330 protesters and clear a camp on private property, according to photos and statements released by the Morton County Sheriff's Department."
In Cannonball, North Dakota, more than 100 police with military equipment are advancing on a resistance camp established by Native American water protectors in the path of the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. Photos and multiple videos posted to Facebook Live depict more than 100 officers in riot gear lined up across North Dakota's Highway 1806, flanked by multiple mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles, a sound cannon, an armored truck and a bulldozer. There have also been reports from water protectors that the police presence includes multiple snipers. Police appear to be evicting the camp in order to clear the way for the Dakota Access pipeline company to continue construction—which was active at times on Thursday just behind the police line.
Cody Hall of Red Warrior Camp told Democracy Now! that behind the line of police, the Dakota Access pipeline company is carrying out construction with cranes and bulldozers on the sacred tribal burial site where on Sept. 3, unlicensed Dakota Access security guards unleashed dogs and pepper spray against Native Americans.
Water protectors have set up a blockade of the highway using cars, tires and fire. Elders are also leading prayer ceremonies.
Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network reported in a Facebook Live video posted Thursday just before 2 p.m. local time that police have begun arresting water protectors in the ongoing standoff.
Sacheen Seitcham of the West Coast Women Warrior Media Cooperative told Democracy Now! police have used tasers against water protectors and that she was hit with a concussion grenade.
The frontline camp sits directly in the proposed path of the Dakota Access pipeline on private property purchased recently by the Dakota Access pipeline company for $18 million. In establishing this frontline camp, water protectors cited an 1851 treaty, which they say makes the entire area unceded sovereign land under the control of the Sioux. Over the weekend, police arrested more than 120 people in a peaceful march to this site during which police deployed tear gas and used rubber bullets to shoot down drones the water protectors were using to document police activity.
Ahead of Thursday's apparent police raid, the Federal Aviation Administration also issued a temporary no-fly zone for the airspace above the resistance camps for all aircraft except for those used by law enforcement. This order means Native Americans can no longer fly drones to document police activity, but the police can continue to fly their surveillance drones and helicopters.
The apparent police raid of the resistance camp comes only minutes before Standing Rock Sioux youth flooded the Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters in New York City to demand Clinton oppose the Dakota Access pipeline.
"As a young person I want to know what the next four years are going to entail," said Garrett Hairychin. "Is Hillary going to be focused on protecting our land? I want to know if my younger family is going to be safe. Our present situation is in dire need of a leader that still remembers that our kids are here. We want to protect the future for the young ones that come after us. I'm here to support my family."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Democracy Now!
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Al Gore: First Amendment Rights Must Be Protected for Those Peacefully Opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline
I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. We have witnessed inspiring and brave acts by Native Americans and their allies who are defending and trying to protect their sacred sites and the safety of their sole source of water.
The fossil fuel industry—and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline in particular—have been proceeding with what appears to be a dangerous project in blatant disregard of obvious risks to the Missouri River and with disrespect to the Standing Rock Sioux.
Peg Hunter / Flickr
In the process, those trying to force completion of this pipeline have—according to independent news reports—been using oppressive practices against this community. In response, Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault has requested that the Justice Department deploy observers to ensure that the First Amendment rights of those peacefully opposing this pipeline are protected. I hope his request is honored.
The non-violent resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline is also one of the frontline struggles that collectively mark a turning point in the decision by humanity to turn away from the destructive path we have been following and aim instead toward a clean energy future for all.
The courage and eloquence of the Standing Rock Sioux in calling all of us to recognize that in their words, "Water is Life," should be applauded, not silenced by those who are driven by their business model to continue spewing harmful global warming pollution into our Earth's atmosphere.
This is also an opportunity to acknowledge and learn from the traditional values being expressed by the Standing Rock Sioux to protect life on Earth.
The effort to ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are respected are not only issues of civil rights and religious freedom, but reflect the choice we must make to ensure a sustainable, just, fair and healthy future for all generations to come.