An Open Letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken, and Rep. Keith Ellison:
Regardless of your view on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), I hope we all can agree that the standoff and violence that occurred near Standing Rock should never have happened. We must learn from this tragic event.
In that regard, I ask you to investigate the actions of the National Sheriffs’ Association and its role in doing opposition research against water protectors and its ties and coordination with TigerSwan, the private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners to protect DAPL. This should include a review of the rationale and appropriateness of the law enforcement tactics used.
This is a national issue. Law enforcement from several states — including Minnesota — were deployed to Morton County, North Dakota through mutual assistance agreements. What are the lessons these law enforcement agents will take back to their home communities?
This should be of particular to concern to those of us in Minnesota. Canadian company Enbridge Line 3 has proposed expanding a tar sands crude pipeline through the state, called Line 3. It would run from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, and includes 337 miles of pipeline through Minnesota. It would cross the Mississippi River, twice, and cross many wild rice lakes. This project most likely will provoke a similar resistance movement as happened in North Dakota. (See MPR story: Minn. oil pipeline fight stokes threats, fears of Standing Rock.)
How will we respond if and when that happens?
We need a thorough review of law enforcement’s response at Standing Rock so that we don’t repeat the mistakes that were made.
North Dakota has operated at a snails pace responding to something it has known for at least nine months: The owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) hired a security firm that was not licensed to work in North Dakota.
That security firm, TigerSwan, worked to intimidate and infiltrate the water protectors, according to an Associated Press story run by MPR. The story (again) raises troubling questions about government’s impartiality in the DAPL dispute.
State intervention now is all but irrelevant. The water protectors have withdrawn for the most part; opponents are hoping for help from the courts.TigerSwan’s penalty will likely be a slap on the wrist for a company its size — that and a request for it to stop doing business in the state.
North Dakota’s inaction is stunning. The state of North Dakota’s Private Investigative and Security Board notified TigerSwan last September that it was operating without a license, the story said. TigerSwan’s first zigged, saying it was not doing security work, then zagged by applying for the license anyway. The state rejected its application in December. Continue reading →
To the water protectors who tried to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the fact that law enforcement and security firms coordinated efforts to undermine the camps is old news. For those less familiar, the news site The Intercept is providing new details on the behind-the-scenes surveillance and public relations operations by the government and private security.
The Intercept received leaked documents from a contractor who worked with TigerSwan, a private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners to coordinate DAPL security. The Intercept just published its second story in a three-part series.
TigerSwan is largely made up of special operations military veterans, (which tells you a lot about the approach Energy Transfer Partners wanted to take in the conflict). TigerSwan “was formed during the war in Iraq and incorporated its counterinsurgency tactics into its effort to suppress an indigenous-led movement centered around protection of water,” The Interept story said.
The story raises serious questions about law enforcement’s impartiality and the “Surveillance-Industrial Complex.” Continue reading →
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.
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.”