United States militarized police have seriously injured countless innocent Americans by shooting their genitals and backs of heads so the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at Standing Rock construction can proceed. The project completion has been ruled illegal and media has blacked out the bloody horror. Highly disturbing graphic accounts were presented Monday. Even such observers of recent gory scenes there are traumatized, as though reporting on war-torn countries where US troops shoot innocent people fleeing with hands up, same as recently happening at Standing Rock. Military bulldozers, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected trucks, Long Range Acoustic Device sound cannons and psychological weapons, such as threatening to rape protesters, have been employed against Americans in the heart of the United States — all for protecting oil corporation profiteers, against “We the people”, Americans’ rights to clean water, health, dignity and to protest.
“I have returned from Standing Rock with my mind blown, my heart broken and my spirit troubled with foreboding of a deepening tragedy,” writes legal observer Deborah MacKay, requesting wide circulation of her disturbing graphic account (below) of her recent witnessing. Mainstream media has blacked out the horror.
Donald Trump’s first week as president and one day after federal officials greenlighted the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite its completion ruled in court illegal, saw a new wave of US militarized police violence against the people. They brutally arrested 76 more legal protesters (adding to hundreds others in past months), shot and threatened to rape remaining protesters.
As many as 15,000 water protectors, including 4,000 veterans, were still at the DAPL ceremonial camps in December.
“I saw that this assembly of indigenous tribes and supporters is among the most serene and peaceful groups of people I have been around,” wrote Earth Watch contributor Raul Garcia in November. “They are not unified by indignity. What unifies the thousands of water protectors who are bracing for the incoming winter is devotion and prayer. In fact, elders and tribal leaders told us repeatedly that tribal camps aren’t protests; these are ceremonies being held at a sacred place. And, they told us, they expect the behavior of their brothers and sisters to reflect that.”
Facing snow and sub-zero temperatures, the camps’ populations dwindled to approximately 1,100 before arrests and injuries last week. Remaining protectors continue risking their lives to protect their land, their water — water of 18 million Americans downstream where the pipe will carry oil, disease and death, as pipelines do.
Deborah McKay’s Letter
I have returned from Standing Rock with my mind blown, my heart broken and my spirit troubled with foreboding of a deepening tragedy. Volunteering as a legal observer with the Water Protector (WP) Legal Collective, I witnessed several confrontations between Water Protectors (WP) and law enforcement: national guard, sheriffs and private security (LE).
On 1/18/17 – 1/19/17 I observed WP with their hands in the air chanting, “Hands up don’t shoot!” being fired upon at a range of 10 to 15 feet. Tear gas canisters and rubber bullets (rubber bullets are regular bullets covered in rubber) were used against unarmed WP who had been singing and praying. I observed national guard chasing WP off the Backwater bridge, firing at people running away. I heard people choking and gagging from tear gas. I saw access to the WP medic vehicles being blocked. I spoke with medics and WP who described bullets penetrating flesh and causing terrible injuries, including to one media person who nearly lost his finger when his camera was targeted.
I talked with a media person and was told of 4 media people on the bridge that night, 3 had their recording devices shot and the 4th, his hand. I saw a photo of a sheriff aiming a rifle directly at a media woman who was standing apart from the crowd. I heard testimony of the back of the medic pickup truck being awash in blood after evacuating wounded.
I watched, and then, inadvertently became a part of, WP being forced off the bridge by national guard who were hiding behind WP vehicles parked along the road and firing rubber bullets at fleeing people. Many people were shot in the back, the neck, the head. When LE fired at people at close range, many were shot in the genitals or in the face. I received information about DAPL security breaching the short wave radio channels of the WP with taunts such as, “Come out and fight like men you faggots or we will come to Camp and fuck your women.”
There are some young warriors, who, without the support of their elders, many who want the camps cleared to mitigate the economic and social damage being suffered by the local community in having the bridge closed, have vowed to not leave the camps or to let the last section of pipeline be built.
Driving away from the area on Monday I saw a convoy of construction vehicles heading to the drill pad. Last night an indigenous website live streamed reports of drilling and construction noises coming from the drill pad.
Without the eyes of a free press these attacks and trespasses continue, with the human rights and sovereignty of indigenous peoples denied. The UN Committee on Transnational Corporations and Human Right Abuses was in Standing Rock this week to take testimony of the many transgressions against people: crop dusters spraying poison pesticides and fertilizers on the camps; hair samples indicating the presence of these chemicals; people who have been injured, beat up, arrested, strip searched; media and medics being targeted by snipers; (one medic told me he stopped wearing his Red Cross vest due to medics being targeted); praying people being attacked and the refusal of DAPL and our government to abide by the Rule of Law.
The vets who came in Dec to stand down against these crimes need to be on the ground there now, right now. We need to stand up for our brothers and our sisters, for their way of life and, I believe, for our social contract as a democracy which is now threatened.
Please share this so word gets out what is happening, thank you.
“President Trump has proven to be a man of action,” wrote Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) regarding the pipeline.
Major General Malcolm Frost, US Army chief of public affairs, said the government was acting on Trump’s orders “to operate the Dakota Access pipeline in compliance with the law.”
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lawyers declare that ignoring the Army Corps of Engineers Dec. 4 ruling is illegal, and promise to battle in court. A group of US army veterans, Veterans Stand raised $37,000 to send members to Standing Rock in coming days.
“We are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected,” Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for Veterans Stand, told CNBC. “That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch.”
Veterans for Standing Rock is raising funds through FundMe and the official Sacred Stone Camp GoFundMe site is here.
Photo Credits: Protesters face off with police and the National Guard, Feb. 1, 2017. Ryan Vizzions/Standing Rock Rising; Facebook: Real News Network, #NODAPL Twitter Campaign
The company needs the easement to complete work under Lake Oahe, following President Donald Trump’s memorandum that advised expediting review of the project. Trump took office promising to favor oil and natural gas developments as well as support new infrastructure, which has included reviving TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline.
Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth president, described the development as both “sickening” and “predictable,” but said those who have opposed the project will not back down, according to Common Dreams.
“The Standing Rock Sioux and Indigenous American peoples who have fought for their sacred tribal land and water rights deserve human dignity and a healthy future,” Picah said in a statement. “We stand behind them in the #NoDAPL fight and will put financial pressure on the banks financing this destructive pipeline project. The people’s resistance to keep fossil fuels in the ground will not disappear.”
The resistance has already begun a campaign, moving personal funds out Wells Fargo and Citibank, both loaning money to complete the pipeline.
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