Democracy in America serves its privileged few alone, public needs and welfare largely ignored, entirely when conflicting with powerful monied interests. They win every time at the expense of peace, equity and justice – imperial wars, corporate favoritism and police state viciousness assuring it. Oil pipelines notoriously leak, polluting the landscape and drinking water, harming public health and well-being. Just societies would prohibit them, renouncing fossil fuels and hugely dangerous nuclear power altogether, substituting clean, green, renewable energy. Last spring, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and supporters heroically began protesting against Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), endangering sacred ancestral land, water, and wildlife habitat, along with communities, farmland and other sensitive areas. Challenging the power of politically connected Big Money assures a hugely unfair fight. On Sunday, militarized police attacked peaceful DAPL protesters violently, using water cannons in sub-freezing weather, tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, mace, and sonic weapons blasting deafening sounds – vicious tactics like Israel uses against Palestinians. Confrontation lasted around six hours. Indigenous Rising calls itself a grassroots “environmental network project committed to “protect(ing) the sanctity and integrity of Mother Earth…” Late Sunday evening, it tweeted “167 Water Protectors have been injured. 3 of those people are elders. 7 people have been hospitalized for severe head injuries. The police are target(ing) the heads and legs of Water Protectors.” “There are no fatalities. Standing Rock EMT is still on site.” One protester called police action “very scary…feel(ing) like a warzone…(not) like we’re in America in 2016.” Other reported injuries so far include lung and eye irritations, at least two cases cardiac arrest, multiple cases of hypothermia, a young teenager shot in the face by rubber bullets, and a woman struck with a concussion grenade or other projectile. Indian Country Today highlighted: “Water cannons. Rubber bullets. Mace. Flash grenades. It’s an army vs. unarmed people who only want to protect their water and graves.” According to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II, “(w)e have a very harsh day coming up now. In my family we never celebrated Thanksgiving. It was always a day of mourning for the day that genocide began on this continent. This all just goes to prove what we’re talking about.” A live Oceti Sakowin Standing Rock Facebook feed from Kevin Gilbertt asked readers for donations to build winterized structures in a part of America experiencing severe winter cold. Overnight temperatures already are sub-freezing. Courageous protesters need all the support they can get. Kevin can be reached at 402-690-6178 for information on how to help. He thanked individuals donating so far. Days earlier, Greenpeace spokeswoman Mary Sweeters urged Obama to intervene responsibly. Stop the environmentally destructive pipeline. Safeguard the land and water. Stop police violence. Support the rights of indigenous Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members courageously protecting their sacred ancestral property.
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