Militarized Police Threaten and Arrest Dakota Pipeline Water Protectors
September 30, 2016 The Daily Kos & teleSURtv
In April 2016, Native peoples began protesting the 1,172-mile, four-state, Dakota Access Pipeline, calling the DAP a threat to sacred lands and water. On September 28, 2016 the Water Protectors' caravan was met with armored vehicles, helicopters dropping tear gas and police armed with military-style rifles. Videos show that, as the resisters are confronted, the militarized police start locking and loading their weapons as the protesters raise their hands in unison and yell that "We are not armed. We are praying!"
Alternative media outlet Unicorn Riot captured footage of the menacing confrontation.
North Dakota Militarized Police Push Back Water Protectors
With Armored Vehicles, Tear Gas and Rifles By Navajo / The Daily Kos
(September 29, 2016) – Regardless of where our Water Protectors travel in North Dakota to conduct a peaceful prayer event against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (that threatens the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's drinking water), you would think that they wouldn't be met with armored vehicles and assault rifles. But they were.
Ever since North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to protect the pipeline, our Water Protectors don't know what they'll face.
They have been pushed back by private security guards armed with attack dogs and pepper spray. Some were bitten and sprayed as a newly reported ancestral burial site was deliberately bulldozed to destroy evidence.
Wednesday, September 28, the Water Protectors' caravan was met with armored vehicles, helicopters dropping tear gas and police armed with military-style rifles.
Video shows that as the resisters are confronted, the militarized force starts locking and loading their weapons. Our people immediately raise their hands in unison and yell that they are not armed, that they are praying!
The arrests begin, tear gas goes off and one videographer flees to get his footage out. Twenty-one are arrested.
Thomas H. Joseph II's video account (below) caught some of the action:
North Dakota authorities using heavy handed tactics on Water Protectors
April 2016: Tribal members began protesting the 1,172-mile, four-state, Dakota Access Pipeline construction by setting up camp along the banks of Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
August 2016: The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed suit in federal district court in Washington, DC, against the US Army Corps of Engineers, which is the primary federal agency that granted permits needed for construction of the pipeline. Background here -- Sacred tribal sites still in danger from DAPL by Earthquake Weather
September 2016: The small Sacred Stone Camp grows supporters there by the thousands with 280 tribes represented.
National attention grows from the next two events.
* The Dakota Access Pipeline guards unleash attack dogs on our American Indian water protectors by navajo (23,515 Facebook shares)
* North Dakota activates National Guard to protect the pipeline instead of our tribes by navajo (40,061 Facebook shares)
* The Vicious Dogs of Manifest Destiny Resurface in North Dakota by Jacqueline Keeler
* North Dakota v. Amy Goodman: Arrest Warrant Issued After Pipeline Coverage
Federal court denies the Standing Rock Tribe's request for injunction. However, a joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior asked for construction to voluntarily be ceased on federally controlled lands.
* Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request to stop Dakota Access Pipeline denied, Dept. of Justice steps in by navajo
* Partial Victory for Standing Rock Sioux by EarthquakeWeather
* Sacred Stone Camp is feeling this: Erased By False Victory: Obama Hasn't Stopped DAPL
Sept. 13-22: Water Protectors are arrested and jailed without bond after locking themselves to construction machinery.
* North Dakota's Governor Declared a State of Emergency to Deal With Peaceful Oil Pipeline Protesters. We Call It a State of Emergency for Civil Rights by Jennifer Cook, Policy Director, ACLU of North Dakota
Sept. 14: Morton County Sheriff pursues felony charges on those arrested. Twenty-three people and their charges are named. As of 9/14 a total of 69 individuals have been arrested for illegal protest activities.
* Judge drops injunction against tribal leaders allowing them to protest lawfully
* Cherokee give $50,000 to oppose North Dakota pipeline
Sept. 16: US Army Corps of Engineers grants Special Use Permit to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to use Federal lands managed by the Corps near Lake Oahe for gathering to engage in a lawful free speech demonstration.
* Appeals court halts Dakota Access Pipeline work pending hearing that will give the court more time to consider the tribes' request for an injunction.
Sept. 20: Standing Rock Sioux Chairman asks the United Nations for protection of the tribe's sovereign rights by navajo
Sept. 23: 1,200 archeologists denounce desecration of Standing Rock burial grounds by DAPL, UN agrees by navajo
Sept. 26: N.D. pipeline activism sparks White House to plan consultations with Native tribes on infrastructure by Meteor Blades
* Earthjustice's FAQ on Standing Rock Litigation on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's lawsuit.
A detailed analysis provided by attorney Robin Martinez -- who is coordinating legal advice and representation for protesters at the North Dakota camps.
(September 11, 2016) -- The Dakota Access Pipeline has been drawing national attention for threatening Native American ways of life and land. As protesters hailed a victory on Friday handed down by three federal departments, a slew of legal issues remain at hand.
Between what the tribes have already dealt with and what they have yet to face, attorney Robin Martinez -- who is coordinating legal advice and representation for protesters at the North Dakota camps -- had answers.
What is the status of the land where the camps are located?
The Sacred Stone Camp, the main traditional protest site created by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in April, is on land that used to belong to the tribe but was "in effect stolen" through eminent domain by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, said Martinez.
The Army Corps of Engineers began building the Oahe Dam in 1948, flooding over 160,000 acres to create the Oahe Lake, where protests are clustered. A quarter of tribe members had to relocate.
Martinez said that a tribe member once told him that, "What flood control really means is that the whites control the water and the Indians get flooded."
Another camp, the Red Warrior Camp, is on private land in order to be closer to the construction sites, where nonviolent direct actions is organized. Work on private land was not affected by Friday's joint announcement to halt building on federal land.
Is the state of North Dakota acting illegally?
The state of emergency to access resources from the Department of Homeland Security was made on the basis that organizers are violent and fighting with pipe bombs and hatchets, which they deny.
The protesters can't challenge the governor's move, but they are highlighting the unjust use of roadblocks to reroute supporters trying to enter the camps, an issue which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe brought to the United Nations. Reports have also come out of law enforcement taking pictures of passersby and using facial recognition which, Martinez said, will likely be used for an upcoming mass arrest. The Morton County Sheriff justified the roadblocks as a safety precaution.
Some have suspected that officials have also cut off telecommunications, but Martinez said that poor reception is likely because there is one phone tower in the area serving thousands of cell phones. He added, though, that he would not be surprised if authorities did try to cut power and "would be shocked" if they weren't already intercepting all communications from the tower, which is owned by Verizon.
Why did the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lose its case to stop construction?
The tribe's case stood on two points.
First, they found the Army Corps of Engineers in violation of the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires the Corps to solicit and gain the consent of the tribe. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe argued that just contacting a few individuals did not constitute meaningful consent.
Judge James Boasberg found it was sufficient according to current law, which the Departments of Justice, the Army and the Interior said they would consider revising after discussions with tribes.
Second, the tribe was unsatisfied with the cursory environmental assessment the Corps conducted before granting the permit. After a brief study, the Corps filed a finding of "no significant impact," precluding further study because of the procedure dictated in the Nationwide Permit 12, which allows for minimal review -- a permit originally intended for public projects like power lines and sewage, said Martinez.
The tribe argued that the finding was understated and should have instead initiated a procedure to conduct a full environmental impact study. Boasberg did not challenge the Corp's review.
The tribe had to prove that "irreparable injury" would be caused by construction as they await a decision on a lawsuit against the permit altogether. Boasberg wrote that they did not make the claim on land and water, but rather on sites of cultural and archaeological significance, which was not a strong enough case.
Are any other tribes involved in the lawsuit and what are they adding to the case?
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is appealing the judge's rejection of their preliminary injunction, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is intervening in the appeal. They filed an amended complaint on Friday, referencing a treaty that obligates the US government to ensure tribal land is permanent and livable, including protecting the right to clean water.
The Yankton Sioux Tribe filed a separate lawsuit against both the Corps and the US Fish and Wildlife Service the day before the Standing Rock ruling. The claims are similar but also reference wider international obligations for "free, prior and informed consent" guaranteed under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the responsibility to "ensure the civilization" of the Lakota people under the Fort Laramie Treaty.
The suit also makes an argument based on environmental justice, which every federal agency has the duty to respect. Martinez said that the pipeline was originally planned to run upstream of Bismarck, the "almost all white" state capital, but following complaints they rerouted upstream of the Standing Rock reservation. The "very astounding" racism would make a strong environmental justice case, he said.
If the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wins its suit against the Army Corps of Engineers, is the project called off?
If the tribe manages to strike down the Corps permit for construction under federal waterways, Dakota Access can reroute the pipeline and, if it can't win the powers of eminent domain, it can negotiate with individual landowners for the right to cross their property.
Many have already signed easements with the company, which effectively coerced landowners, who thought they had no choice, said Martinez. If they did not voluntarily agree to an easement and accept the money for the Dakota Access's use of their land, he said, the company could threaten to use eminent domain and pay them nothing.
Now that the pipeline is gaining international attention, though, it may have a similar fate as the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was rejected by President Barack Obama because it would "not serve the national interest."
Should a similar scenario happen, or should Dakota Access decide to call off the project, it would have to take the pipes out of the ground and dismantle the construction that has already taken place. Martinez, who represented South Dakota farmers and ranchers against the Keystone 1 Pipeline, said that while the company is required to restore their property to how it was before construction, they rarely fulfill their promise.
Oil leaks aside, the pipeline often damages the land and prevents crops from growing again: oil from tar sands, for instance, must be heated up to flow through the pipeline, burning the land around it.
What about the rest of the pipeline on non-federal land?
The announcement to halt construction on federal land affected a small percentage of the total pipeline. The vast majority goes through the land of farmers and ranchers.
North Dakota isn't alone in challenging construction.
In Iowa, farmers and ranchers have banded together with environmental groups to overturn Dakota Access's power of eminent domain. They have a case pending in court and organized several actions against the Iowa Utilities Board as part of a "growing backlash on the part of farmers and landowners to that concept" which, Martinez said, was originally meant for public projects.
Dakota Access will argue that its pipeline serves a public purpose, but Iowa echo Keystone XL resisters in arguing that the oil, meant for export, is only extracted for private gain. While the tribes in North Dakota have already laid their cards on the table, the Iowa case may be a real "stumbling block down the line," said Martinez. National Guard to Called in to
Support Police at North Dakota Pipeline Protests teleSURtv
(September 8, 2016) -- The North Dakota National Guard will be on standby to provide assistance to the local police government in response to the ongoing protests over the Dakota Access pipeline, which critics say threatens water and the environment of Native American communities.
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said that he asked the "North Dakota National Guard to support law enforcement and augment their public safety efforts," at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
"For public safety, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Morton County Sheriff's Department are enhancing their law enforcement presence over the coming weekend," Dalrymple said.
He said that the National Guard they will help in "support roles" such as security and traffic in the area, adding that the move will help free up extra officers to patrol the area.
"The guard members will provide valuable personnel, resources and equipment necessary to support local tribal and state officials," adding that the guard would help to "protect the constitutional rights of those who want to protest peacefully." He asked that pipeline protesters demonstrate in a "respectful and lawful way."
Native American groups are protesting against the pipeline on a camp, saying that the US$3.8-billion pipeline carries heavy Bakken crude oil that would contaminate the drinking water of millions of people and destroy the environment. In addition, protesters say the pipeline goes through treaty-protected sacred lands.
A number of protesters have been arrested for their ongoing action, with some spray painting and strapping themselves to pipeline equipment.
Major General Al Dohrman also said in the announcement that he was negotiating with community leaders to find a peaceful solution to the protests, but added that there was a group of "agitators" in the protests.
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