Shuttles to Line 3 resistance camps and other news

In this blog:

  • Shuttle service being created for front-line water protector camps
  • Minneapolis police spokesperson works on the Northern Lights Task Force protecting Line 3; City Council passes ordinance opposing Line 3
  • Treaties aren’t broken, they’re not being honored
  • Hubbard County law enforcement blockades water protector encampment
  • Economics cancel Byhalia Pipeline

Shuttle service being created for front-line water protector encampments — Sign up!

Some people would like to stay at Enbridge Line 3 front-line resistance encampments but can’t commit the time to stay up there. Other people would really like to participate in Line 3 front-line resistance but don’t have a car to get there.

I think you see where this is going. The Stop Line 3 movement wants as many of you as possible to be up north, and is developing a new shuttle system. If you, or someone you know (maybe someone new to the movement) would be able to provide a ride, please fill out this form ASAP. (This is not a commitment, just an expression of interest.) Once organizers have enough drivers, they can begin offering the service.

Additionally, if you are already heading up to the line soon and can offer a ride, you can post in our new, rolling rideshare board. This system only works if people are constantly requesting and offering rides, so check it often and update your posts.

Minneapolis police spokesperson works on the Northern Lights Task Force protecting Line 3 while City Council passes ordinance opposing Line 3

The Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution this past week opposing the construction of Line 3. It cites how Line 3 violates treaty rights, adds to climate change, and threatens clean waters.

The resolution ends with this statement: “Be It Further Resolved that the City Council requests that the Mayor and Police Chief continue to keep Minneapolis police from participating in the Northern Lights Task Force.”

Perhaps that was a reference to John Elder, Minneapolis Police spokesman, who also has acted as a spokesperson for the Northern Lights Task Force.

The Task Force has coordinated training, resources and communication between state and local law enforcement and Enbridge to rapidly respond to any Line 3 actions. It’s trained hundreds of officers.

The Intercept ran a June 8 story, and Unicorn Riot ran a June 10 story, both of which cited Elder as a Task Force spokesperson.

Screen grab from Democracy Now video. (Ignore red dot, it’s a glitch.)

Reporters pressed Elder on the use of a low-flying helicopter that kicked up dirt and debris on water protectors, and the use of LRAD — Long Range Acoustical Device — to get them to disperse.

Elder said the helicopter was used to issue a dispersal order, and the fact that it was “kicking up giant clouds of dust and debris while only 20 feet above the ground was accidental and unintentional,” Unicorn Riot reported.

It continued:

(In a bizarre twist on Tuesday, Elder tweeted from the Minneapolis Police Twitter account in an apparently personal capacity to claim that he was “not the spokesperson. I am consulting law enforcement.” …)

Unicorn Riot

Whether spokesperson or consultant, Elder’s argument that the helicopter-generated dust clouds were accidental rings hollow. How are people supposed to hear dispersal orders when the helicopter is roaring 20 feet overhead and they are trying to protect themselves from flying debris?

Elder’s public quotes on behalf of the Task Force occurred prior to the Council’s resolution. Time will tell if anything changes. Or maybe it already has.

Elder also wrote the media release that described George Floyd’s death as a “medical incident.”

Elder has said in interviews that he was relaying on the information provided to him, and if he had seen the video the statement would have been much different.

On one hand, that seems plausible. On the other hand, consider this nuanced analysis from a Washington Post columnist on the responsibilities of government spokespeople.

He’s [Elder’s] not a reporter, tasked with presenting as complete a picture as he can. He’s a public relations guy, and for a public relations guy putting out a news release late on a Monday evening, a story from his team in the field that didn’t raise any immediate red flags was good enough.

There are two challenges to that approach. The first is that we are granting Elder the benefit of the ignorance he claims, which is as fraught a decision as was Elder’s apparent decision to trust those sergeants. The second challenge, as the Floyd situation reinforces, is that it equates Elder with the social media intern tasked with tweeting out new Cheerios flavors. He’s not just a marketing guy putting spin on a story. He’s a representative of an organization funded by taxpayers and predicated on public service. His job is to inform the public, not to cast the Minneapolis Police Department in the most positive possible light.

Philip Bump, Washington Post

That’s how Elder’s helicopter quote felt. He was trying to put the Northern Lights Task Force in the most positive light possible.

Here’s one short video of the helicopter incident. Listen to see if you can hear a dispersal order when the helicopter nears the ground. Watch and decide for yourself if this was “accidental and unintentional.”

It’s one more rock on the pile of rocks representing why many people don’t trust law enforcement.

Treaties aren’t broken, they’re not being honored

Here’s some wisdom about how best to discuss treaty violations, overheard at the Wild Rice Protector Camp. Saying that treaties are broken isn’t helpful. It gives the impression that treaties are no longer workable or in force. Instead, let’s acknowledge that treaties aren’t being honored. Treaties still exist, they are still in force, and they need to be honored.

Hubbard County law enforcement blockades water protector encampment

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office this past week unlawfully blocked access to Namewag, the Giniw Collective’s water protector camp, according to a Giniw media release Thursday.

Some water protectors believe the Sheriff’s blockade was related to work on the Mississippi River crossings, which was being drilled.

A dozen people were arrested in their driveway on Monday night; Hubbard County police sent a riot line. Police continue to barricade Namewag, the Native-led encampment who owns the land, into their property. One water protector was pulled over this morning by Hubbard County as they left camp, the sheriff claimed they “violated the easement”. Governor Walz and Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan remain silent about the ongoing gross abuse of power by the Hubbard County Sheriff.

Ginw Collective

Remember, law enforcement has a built-in Enbridge bias. Enbridge funds a pot of money to reimburse law enforcement for Line 3 related costs. The pot of money is independently managed, but everyone knows where it’s coming from.

This is quite simply nothing less than an overt political blockade,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney for the pipeline opponents and director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s Center for Protest Law and Litigation. “This is an outrageous and unlawful effort to blockade people who are engaged in protected First Amendment activity and to punish them for their opposition to the Enbridge pipeline, where Enbridge is serving as the paymaster for Hubbard County sheriff.”

The Intercept

For more, see articles in The Intercept and Unicorn Riot.

Economics cancel the Byhalia Pipeline

The Byhalia Connection Pipeline got cancelled Friday, the company announced. “The lower US oil production from the pandemic is the main reason the company decided against the project,” the ABC affiliate in Memphis reported.

The crude oil pipeline would have run “nearly 49 miles from Memphis to Marshall County, Mississippi,” the company’s website said.

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