The North Dakota National Guard has taken the bizarre and extraordinary step of installing surface-to-air missile launchers near the Oceti Sakowin camp opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), according to reports in both The Daily Beast and Fox News.
It is the latest move in the overly militarized response to the water protectors. Those opposing the pipeline already have suffered attacks with high pressure water hoses in freezing temperatures, concussion grenades, and rubber bullets. The addition of missile launchers is nothing other than an effort at “Shock and Awe” against U.S. citizens, the vast majority of whom have opposed the pipeline in a peaceful and prayerful manner.
The National Guard downplayed the presence of these intimidating weapons, saying they were not loaded and the Guard “does not have the authority to arm them,” according to The Daily Beast.
No matter how the National Guard spins it, this is about intimidation.
North Dakota Guard spokesman William Prokopyk told The Daily Beast: “These systems have observation capabilities and are used strictly in the observation role to protect private property and public safety,” Prokopyk said.
Question: So the missile launchers aren’t loaded or authorized for use, but how quickly could that change?
If you saw people walking around your neighborhood armed with Uzis, would you laugh it off if you were told they were not loaded? Would you feel differently if you knew that a case of ammo was available if needed?
These missile launchers are much scarier than Uzis. According to Fox News:
The Avenger Air Defense System is described as a surface-to-air missile system that can defend against cruise missiles, UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone], fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The news website reported that the North Dakota Army National Guard’s air defense has the ability to operate the Avenger system.
According to The Daily Beast, the National Guard explained away the use of the Avenger, noting “it possesses night-vision equipment that many North Dakota Guard units lack,” and “the Avenger has an enclosed, heated crew compartment” to protect against below-zero wind chills.
Question: Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy some night vision goggles and bring in a heated mobile home? (Answer: Yes.) This is not about night vision equipment and a heated cab. It is about creating a war zone atmosphere and instilling fear.
(And speaking of fear, how much fear do we have as a nation if we are arming the North Dakota National Guard with surface to air missile launchers? Do we really expect an invasion coming from Canada?)
Last question: What percent of the protestors have thrown rocks or made written threats? Are water cannons, rubber bullets, and missile launchers really the appropriate response against everyone? Whatever happened to dialogue and efforts at deescalation?
DAPL Developer Tries to Block Environmental Impact Statement
The DAPL developer has asked a federal judge to reject a proposed environmental impact statement (EIS) on the pipeline’s Missouri River crossing, according to an MPR story.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers required the EIS last month, stopping the pipeline project. The pipeline’s developer maintains it has all needed permits. Scrapping the EIS in court would make it easier for the Trump administration to green light the project after he takes office Friday.
The MPR story said:
[Energy Transfer Partners] has already drilled entry and exit holes for the Oahe crossing, all on private property, and has already put oil in the pipeline leading up to the lake in anticipation of finishing the project, ETP executive vice president Joey Mahmoud said in court documents.
Black Snake Resistance March
Native Lives Matter has organized a Black Snake Resistance March against the Dakota Access Pipeline for Friday, Inauguration Day. The event starts at 2:30 p.m. Meet at Chicago and Franklin avenues. Here is the Facebook page for the event.