Carlton County Sheriff defends half-mile evacuation zone when electronic devices were thrown into Line 3 work area

Racial profiling, racial fear, seem to be in play

Camp Migizi, an Indigenous-women-led Line 3 frontline resistance camp, got criticized last week following a bomb scare at an Enbridge worksite that turned out to be a false alarm.

Last Monday, Feb. 22, Carlton County received a 9-1-1 call reporting a “suspicious device,” the Sheriff’s Office said. A news story called it “a suspicious package thrown into a pipeline construction area.”

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake said today the incident was still under investigation and she couldn’t give many details. “What I can tell you, it was a couple of electronic-type devices that were making audible noises.”

Responding to the incident, Kelly along with other local officials, decided to evacuate the 40 homes within a half-mile radius of the device. She also called in the FBI. The law enforcement response raised community fears and generated ill-will towards the camp. The Fond du Lac Band government said the incident “created widespread public safety concerns.”

A truck bomb with a half-ton of TNT wouldn’t have required such a large evacuation area, according to federal data. Local law enforcement’s response seemed like a major overreaction. Lake defended her decision.

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Screening and panel discussion on Doctrine of Discovery film Sunday and other news

In this blog:

  • Free online screening and panel discussion of the “Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code,” Sunday
  • Exxon writes off Canadian tar sands oil reserves, one more reason to Stop Line 3
  • Call senators Klobuchar and Smith and ask them to Stop Line
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Day of Prayer at George Floyd Square

Decades of frustration over lack of police accountability

In this blog:

  • George Floyd Square supporters: City has failed to hold police accountable, respond to demands
  • “No Justice, No Streets” yard signs available
  • Zoom conference Tuesday, March 2: Seeking justice, caring for community
  • Day of Prayer at George Floyd Square March 8, when trial starts
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Two Line 3 workers arrested for soliciting sex as part of human trafficking sting

The Duluth News Tribune reported Tuesday that two of the seven people arrested in a northern Minnesota human trafficking sting were Enbridge Line 3 workers, “fueling concern that construction of the oil pipeline is bringing a higher risk of sex crimes to the area.”

Arrested were:

  • Michael Kelly West, 53, of Rolla, Missouri, who was charged with one count of carrying a pistol without a permit and one count of solicitation to engage in prostitution.
  • Matthew Ty Hall, 33, of Mount Pleasant, Texas, who was charged with one count of solicitation of a person believed to be a minor.

The sting involved web ads that engaged potential customers in sex-for-money conversations, the story said. Perhaps of most concern, West told arresting officers he heard about the ads “from rumors at work.”

That means this isn’t an isolated incident; other workers are talking about it.

[Update: StarTribune story here.]

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Proposed legislation to waive building codes for traditional Dakota earthlodges, and other news

In this blog:

  • Legislation would waive building codes, allow traditional Dakota structures
  • Buddhists and friends invited to Water Protectors Welcome Center Feb. 28
  • Civil Rights arm of the bar association links environmental racism to higher pandemic rates and other harms
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Line 3: Don’t be distracted from the true danger

Screen grab of Unicorn Riot’s feed showing part of Friday’s protest.

Friday’s bomb scare in Carlton County will be used by some to make water protectors seem dangerous, shifting attention away from real dangers posed by the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Water protectors were demonstrating against Line 3 in Carlton County Friday. As the event was happening, the county received a 9-1-1 call reporting a “suspicious device,” the Sheriff’s Office said. A news story called it “a suspicious package thrown into a pipeline construction area.”

The county’s response was quick and perhaps excessive. It called in the bomb squad. Law enforcement evacuated 40 nearby residences within a half-mile radius of the device. Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake called in regional and federal law enforcement. She’s calling for maximum charges and penalties.

There was no bomb. Still, placing a “replica device” that causes fear and panic is a crime.

The incident occurred near Camp Migizi, an Indigenous-led frontline resistance camp, but the protests that day were several miles away from where the incident occurred.

There’s been no information released that ties the incident to Camp Migizi or the protest. There have been no arrests. Yet without evidence, Enbridge and others are blaming water protectors.

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Holocaust survivors continue to receive German reparations payments to this day

Part of an ongoing series exploring reparations

By Vic Rosenthal and Scott Russell

Jewish men in the Radom ghetto March, 1941. They were forced to wear white armbands with a blue Star of David to mark them as outsiders. Photo: Brenner/Wikimedia Commons

Sarah (not her real name) was a teenager in Radom, Poland when Germany invaded her country in September, 1939, the start of World War II.

Now a U.S. citizen in her 90s, she remembers living in extreme poverty and constant hunger in the Radom ghetto. Many men were taken away and never seen again. Sarah was forced into slave labor, her brother taken away. She and her mother were sent on a death march to Auschwitz and later Bergen Belsen.

“More than five years in ghettos with poverty and starvation and two death marches, but I survived,” she said. “I don’t know how.”

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Line 3 updates: Pressure on Biden, new frontline treaty camp, ELCA bishop releases statement, and more

In this blog:

  • Water protectors travel to Milwaukee today to tell President Biden to Stop Line 3
  • Invitation as the RISE Coalition opens new frontline treaty and prayer camp in Bagley Saturday-Sunday
  • Virtual tour of Camp Migizi Wednesday at 2 p.m.
  • Minneapolis ELCA Bishop says listen to Indigenous voices on Line 3
  • Gizmodo: Facebook favors Enbridge ads in Line 3 controversy
  • Freeborn County in far southern Minnesota ponders sending deputies north to respond to Line 3 resistance
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