How far will North Dakota go?

SUBHEAD: The state has coordinated a militarized response to peaceful demonstrators and charged people with felonies.

By Mark Trahant on 23 October 2016 in Magazine -
(http://www.yesmagazine.org/how-far-will-north-dakota-go-to-get-this-pipeline-20161023)


Image above: Riot police at Saturday’s prayer protest with weapons drawn. Photo by Rob Wilson. From original article.

The militarized response is escalating, Dakota Access construction is accelerating. To be clear: North Dakota is acting as trustee for the company, using what it considers the powers of state to make this project so.
A peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline ended in the arrests of 83 people in North Dakota on Saturday morning amid a chaotic scene in which police in riot gear used pepper spray to break up and subdue a group of 200 to 300 protesters.
It is the highest number of people arrested in a single day in North Dakota during the last several months of protest actions against the oil pipeline, bringing the total number of arrests up to 222.
Though the protesters behaved non-violently and cooperated with the police, North Dakota law enforcement officials described Saturday’s events as a riot.  —Rapid City Journal article
A line of trucks and commercial vehicles on North Dakota’s Highway 6 Saturday was a speeding train. One vehicle after another. Traveling too fast and too close. Then, still on track, the entire train turned left and began racing down a rural dirt road.

It was clear why: This is where the Dakota Access Pipeline is being constructed.

 Fresh dirt marks where the pipeline has been and where it’s supposed to go. Construction is on a speedy timetable. As the company has testified in court it wants the 1,170 mile, $3.8 billion project up and running by January 1, 2017.

Yet the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and several hundred people camped nearby are determined to slow down that train, protect the waters of the Missouri River, and ultimately, help the country begin the most important conversation of this era about energy, climate and survival.

So the machinery of the state of North Dakota has been engaged to stay on schedule. To be clear: North Dakota is acting as the trustee for the company, using what it considers the powers of state, to make this project so.

How far will North Dakota go? Look at where it has been.

The state has been an ally instead of a referee. Helping to craft a regulatory approach that avoided regulation. There is this crazy notion that the company did everything it was supposed to do—so leave them alone. Yah. Because the plan was to avoid pesky regulation. It’s so much more efficient to be governed by official winks instead of an Environmental Impact Statement.

Even now the Dakota Access pipeline figures the state, with allies in D.C., will give in and sign the final paperwork. As the Energy Transfer Partners attorney told the court: “The status quo is that we’re in the middle of building a pipeline.”

So, according to Oil and Gas 360, “the next step will be for ETP to acquire easements to drill the pipeline under Lake Oahe. In the most probable scenario, the Corps will grant permits while District Court litigation will continue. ETP would ‘likely get notice on easement status by the end of October and would take 60 days to drill under the lake with a full crew and no major disruptions.”

In other words: No worries. The state’s machinery is supposed to make it so.

How far will North Dakota go?

They’ve already tried intimidation, humiliation, and the number of arrests are increasing. Pick on protectors, elders, journalists, famous people, anyone who could make the state appear potent. The latest tactic is to toss around the word “riot” as if saying it often enough will change its definition. “Authorities arrest 83 protesters during a riot Saturday,” Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier posted on Facebook.

“Today’s situation clearly illustrates what we have been saying for weeks, that this protest is not peaceful or lawful. It was obvious to our officers who responded that the protesters engaged in escalated unlawful tactics and behavior during this event. This protest was intentionally coordinated and planned by agitators.”

What’s extraordinary about that statement is the sheriff’s own pictures show a peaceful protest. As Mel Brooks once wrote in Young Frankenstein: “A riot is an ugly thing.” This was not.


Image above: Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier posted this picture on Facebook as evidence of a “riot.” Photo from Morton County Sheriff’s Office. From original article.

But the key phrase in the sheriff’s words is fuel for the state’s machinery, the words “… or lawful.” That is the important phrase because the state would like a protest that lets the status quo continue building a pipeline.

The idea of civil disobedience is that there are unjust laws (or in this case, rigged laws) and there are people willing go to jail to highlight that injustice.

 The state lost its moral claim when it moved the pipeline route away from its own capital city to near the Standing Rock Nation.
Again, the question is, how far will North Dakota go?

Is the state ready to arrest hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? And then what? The illogical conclusion to that question is too terrible to think about.

Yesterday a call went out from the camps for more people. People who, as Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said, are willing to get arrested. People who will interrupt their lives so that this pipeline will go no further. It’s a call to a higher law than the one that’s codified by North Dakota. And for every water protector arrested, there will always be someone else ready to be next.

How far will North Dakota go? The military-style law enforcement base at Fort Rice sends its message: Whatever it takes. Status quo must have its pipeline. That’s frightening. Except, there is an antidote to those fears. It’s found among the people at the Standing Rock camps who continue to use prayer as their status quo.



DAPL tells water protectors to "Get Out!"

SUBHEAD: Amidst law enforcement crackdown, DAPL pipeline builder warns water protectors: "Get Out, Or Else!>.

By Andrea Germanos on 26 October 2016 for Common Dreams -
(http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/10/26/amidst-law-enforcement-crackdown-dapl-company-warns-water-protectors-get-out-or-else)

'Militarized' police forces have taken steps 'to escalate tensions and promote fear'.

To the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies who stepped up their resistance this weekend with a new protest camp reclaimed through eminent domain, Dakota Access Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners has a stern message: get out or face prosecution.

Protesters can leave the property, the company stated Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

"Alternatively and in coordination with local law enforcement and county/state officials, all trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and removed from the land."
"Lawless behavior will not be tolerated," it stated.

But according to the Sacred Stone Camp, the new camp, which sits "directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)," is not on land owned by Energy Transfer Partners; rather, it is "unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie."

"We have never ceded this land," said Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer, in a weekend press release.

"If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland."

As Common Dreams reported, the erection of the new camp came amidst "escalating attacks on protesters by local law enforcement officials."

Condemning the escalation, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Dave Archambault II stated Monday, "North Dakota law enforcement have proceeded with a disproportionate response to their nonviolent exercise of their First Amendment rights, even going as far as labeling them rioters and calling their every action illegal."

He also wrote to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a Justice Department (DOJ) investigation into possible civil rights violations, writing that "state and local law enforcement have increasingly taken steps to militarize their presence, to intimidate participants who are lawfully expressing their views, and to escalate tensions and promote fear."

Archambault's letter also noted the recent arrest of Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, saying it was "part of a larger effort by local law enforcement to intimidate the press and to prevent the full and fair reporting of the activities of law enforcement on this matter."

The DOJ responded, saying the administration had requested that Dakota Access put construction on hold.

"While the Army continues to review issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members, it will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe.

In the interim, the departments of the Army, Interior, and Justice have reiterated our request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe," stated DOJ spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle.

Prominent voices from former Vice President Al Gore to actress Shailene Woodley have helped bring corporate media attention to what's at stake with the 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline.

Actor and environmental activist also Mark Ruffalo also brought his voice to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Tuesday.

Referring to law enforcement's actions towards water protectors, he said, "They are very antagonistic to people trying to save their water, they're made out to be criminals. But each time they hit us, they lose. The more quiet and serene we are in the depth of that violence, the faster we win," he said.

"That's where our strength is: We're right and they know we're right."

Linking the pipeline's future to the U.S. presidential campaign, the Guardian reports Wednesday on the "close financial ties" Donald Trump has to the pipeline operator, writing that chief executive Kelcy Warren has given $103,000 in campaign contributions to the Republican presidential nominee, and that Trump "has between $500,000 and $1m invested in Energy Transfer Partners, with a further $500,000 to $1m holding in Phillips 66, which will have a 25 percent stake in the Dakota Access project once completed."

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16  

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