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US domestic forces using both lethal and pain-inducing weaponry to help protect the construction of the Dakota access oil pipeline denied to NBC the use of fire-hoses against civilians last night. However, many live-streams and videos of the event captured US militants dousing civilian water-protectors, spraying them directly in their bodies and heads and generally drenching crowds.
A spokesman for the militants said they were only trying to put out fires started by the protectors, but numerous videos have exposed that as a lie, casting doubt on other dubious claims by state forces.
While militants may also have been trying to put out fires started by the protectors, those fires – campfires – were being used to try to help warm up drenched civilians at risk of hypothermia and shock. NBC notes temperatures were as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Water in nearby shallow riverbeds was frozen, and icicles can be seen hanging from razor wire installed by state forces.
Fires not started by the protectors for warmth appear, on video, to have been started by the militants, who repeatedly fired flaming, rocket-like projectiles at civilians (pictures of shells here). Some of the flaming projectiles appeared to fly hundreds of feet and start brush-fires, which protectors then extinguished.
The militants also used lethal weapons to threaten civilians on behalf of the pipeline, and deployed other potentially lethal, pain-inducing weapons, such as bullets coated in rubber, sound cannons, and harsh chemical gasses and sprays, resulting in some 160 people being injured, some severely, according to reports and pictures.
The United Nations recently called for a halt to the construction of the pipeline and condemned the US’s “excessive” and “militarized” violence against indigenous-led civilians acting in accordance with UN directives.
US militant spokesmen who have said they are concerned about the health of the campers in the winter weather undermined their statement last night with their attempt to induce hypothermia and cause other injuries as protectors tried to clear militant barricades that are blocking the road and slowing access to medical assistance for their camps. However, if legitimately concerned, militants are still free to donate portions of their salaries to help continue to winterize the camps. (One militant noted in an internal email that his wages will “ultimately be paid by the oil people”.)
US militants can also prove their concerns about peoples’ health by refusing to act as the tip of the spear for a fossil fuel extraction project that will hasten the effects of climate change and which has been condemned by the United Nations and rejected by the nearby white-majority city of Bismarck as a health hazard.
Robert J. Barsocchini is an independent researcher and reporter who focuses on global force dynamics and has served as a cross-cultural intermediary for the film and Television industry. His work has been cited, published, or followed by numerous professors, economists, lawyers, military and intelligence veterans, and journalists. Updates on Twitter.