Leaked Documents: Private Security Used Anti-Terrorist Tactics Against Peaceful Water Protectors

Sign at Water Protectors Camp (2016) sending message to those conducting surveillance.

Leaked documents paint a disturbing picture about how a private security firm used anti-terrorism tactics against the water protectors who opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), according to a story in the news site “The Intercept.”

The private firm coordinated with local, state, and federal law enforcement to undermine the protest, the story said. “The documents also provide extensive evidence of aerial surveillance and radio eavesdropping, as well as infiltration of camps and activist circles.”

This news comes as DAPL is now fully operational, Standing Rock Chairman David Archambeau is found not guilty of protest-related crimes, and complaints are being investigated against Energy Transfer Partners for failing to follow the rules during DAPL’s construction.

The Monday report from The Intercept — Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies” — is stunning. Here’s how it starts:

A shadowy international mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan targeted the movement opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures, collaborating closely with police in at least five states, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents provide the first detailed picture of how TigerSwan, which originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror, worked at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, to respond to the indigenous-led movement that sought to stop the project.

Internal TigerSwan communications describe the [water protectors’] movement as “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component” and compare the anti-pipeline water protectors to jihadist fighters.

The article is based on more than 100 internal documents leaked by a TigerSwan contractor, as well as more than  1,000 documents obtained through public records requests, the story said. Documents obtained “also suggest that TigerSwan attempted a counterinformation campaign by creating and distributing content critical of the protests on social media.”

Click here for the full story. For another take, check out this story in Consumer Affairs.

For more DAPL updates, keep reading.

DAPL Now Fully Operational

Indian Country Today, MPR and other news sources  are reporting that the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline has begun service, while tribes continue to fight the project in court. Indian Country Today’s story provided an update on the court case:

“We’ve been working on our court case and expect a federal judge to soon rule on our request that the pipeline be halted and the Trump administration’s approval be thrown out,” said a media release from EarthJustice, the nonprofit environmental law firm representing tribes that are fighting the pipeline approval in court. “Even though the oil started flowing before the court rules, the judge still has the power to halt it.”

Archambeau, Yellow Fat, Cleared

Archambeau and Standing Rock Tribal Councilman Dana Yellow Fat were found not guilty of disorderly conduct charges stemming from and August protest against DAPL, according to a Bismarck Tribune story.

It took the jury of six all of 20 minutes Wednesday to deliberate and make its decision, the story said. It lends credence to those who said the police were too aggressive in making arrests.

Police said Archambeau and Yellow Fat rushed them. Archambeau said they were rushing to help older women who were on the other side of the police line, and could have been in danger from workers leaving the construction site, the story said. Archambeau and Yellow Fat were trying to keep them safe.

Energy Transfer Partners Under Investigation

North Dakota state regulators are investigating two complaints against Energy Transfer Partners, according to a Wednesday story in the Bismarck Tribune. One complaint says the company didn’t get permission for rerouting the Dakota Access Pipeline in October. It rerouted the pipeline to avoid cultural artifacts it had uncovered. In addition, Energy Transfer Partners waited 10 days before notifying the state about the artifact find.

The other complaint alleges the company cleared trees and shrubs in violation of its permit at 83 locations along the North Dakota portion of the pipeline route.

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