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Pacifism as Pathology

Understanding Netwar: Communication, Consciousness, and Social Engineering

Medium

November 14, 2016

By Jay Taber

View story at Medium.com

To effectively fight fascism, one must understand netwar (networked psychological warfare). In 2013, I compiled Communications in Conflict — a free download booklet, with everything you need to know on the topic.

I recommend browsing the index titled Resources for Activist Scholars. It has lots of links to books, manuals, papers and reports about real life examples that illustrate the points made in the booklet.

For a list of relevant articles, I suggest the Netwar Reader compiled at Public Good Archives. It’s the best there is.

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

Bloodless Lies

The New Inquiry

November 2, 2016

By Lorenzo Raymond

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This is an Uprising, a widely celebrated new book about how social movements change history, distorts their histories to celebrate non-violence

The black revolt of 2014 was a turning point in how Americans discussed the use of force in social movements. In the pages of the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates acknowledged that “violence works.” Rolling Stone and the Huffington Post echoed much the same sentiment. Laci Green–a YouTube star and one of the “30 most influential people on the Internet,” according to Time–posted a popular video drawing favorable comparisons between the Ferguson riots and the revolution depicted in The Hunger Games. This sea change was led by the movement itself as African American youth in Ferguson rejected Al Sharpton and other older leaders, partly due to disagreement on strict nonviolence.

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Mark Engler and Paul Engler, This Is an Uprising. Nation Books. 2016. 368 pages.
The notable exceptions to this trend were those who spoke for the state. These parties advocated for nonviolent action in a most conspicuous way. On the eve on the announcement of the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson, the killer of Mike Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder solemnly intoned that “history has shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to non-aggression and nonviolence.” In an ABC interview on the same day, President Obama urged that the “first and foremost” responsibility for Americans reacting to the verdict was to “keep protests peaceful.”

It shouldn’t be necessary to remind people of major public discussions from two years ago, but America is a notoriously forgetful nation. And when it comes to matters of protest, politics, reform, and revolt, many people are invested in this kind of forgetting. The stated purpose of Mark and Paul Engler’s new book This Is an Uprising (2015) is to work against this historical amnesia. The Engler brothers profess to build “a healthy movement ecology [which] preserves the memory of how past transformations in society have been achieved.” This is a worthy goal, and the brothers appear well-placed to realize it: one is a professional community organizer while the other is a fixture of progressive publications including Dissent and Yes! Magazine. The book has been praised effusively by lefty celebrities, including Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein, as the new authoritative text for mass civil disobedience. Yet rather than building on the nuanced understanding of street tactics that developed in the wake of Ferguson, the Englers selectively distort social movement history in a blind commitment to a particular kind of direct action.

The opening chapters are an introduction to the modern history of tactical pacifism as embodied in the practice of Martin Luther King’s Birmingham campaign and, later in the 1960s, by the theories of political scientist Gene Sharp. The authors contend that both these figures abandoned religious nonviolence to develop a rational, realist praxis known as “civil resistance,” not “pacifism.” The principle reason for this name change is that Gene Sharp rejected the P-word, arguing that the term only applied to private individuals operating from spiritual inspiration. The Englers affirm that Sharp’s “politics of nonviolent action” are distinct from pacifism because the latter is essentially apolitical.

What the Englers fail to acknowledge, however, is that virtually all the 20th century activists whom Sharp and his school hold up as role models did call themselves pacifists. A.J. Muste, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King, and even Daniel Berrigan (who for a time defied strict Gandhism by fleeing imprisonment after an act of property destruction) all called themselves pacifists. When scrutinized, the switch from “pacifism” to “nonviolent action” appears to be a case of re-branding in response to the poor reputation pacifism had among young people by the end of the 1960s. This was hardly the first time pacifism was renamed rather than critically challenged: Leo Tolstoy referred to the use of civil disobedience without violence as “non-resistance.” Gandhi rejected that name, but employed essentially the same strategy; Tolstoy and Gandhi exchanged correspondence and agreed on practically all points.

In the 21st century, the term du jour is “civil resistance” and sometimes “people power,” yet the method’s founding father is still considered to be Gandhi. It also seems significant that in spite of “breaking from the earlier traditions of moral pacifism,” as the Englers put it, many of the major proponents of civil resistance, from Gene Sharp to George Lakey to Bill Moyer to Chris Hedges, come from highly religious backgrounds.

In addition to a re-branding, “civil resistance” is also a misbranding. The term is adopted from Thoreau’s 1849 essay “On Resistance to Civil Government,” but his use of “civil” referred to the type of domestic government being resisted, not to the method of civility deployed. Thoreau himself later said that John Brown’s violent lack of civility was the best thing that ever happened to the abolitionist movement.

These contradictions aside, the Englers trace how “civil resistance” has become increasingly accepted in mainstream political science. To demonstrate this, they introduce us to Erica Chenoweth, now one of the most celebrated social movement theorists working in the field. Chenoweth got her start producing the widely cited study Why Civil Resistance Works (2011) in collaboration with Maria J. Stephan of the U.S. State Department. According to the Englers, the study proved that “nonviolent movements worldwide were twice as likely to succeed as violent ones.” But the sample size of the study is far too narrow to prove such a sweeping claim. There are no civil rights or labor struggles included in the Chenoweth data set, which is focused exclusively on regime change. And, as Peter Gelderloos pointed out in his book The Failure of Nonviolence (2013), the outcomes of the nonviolent revolutions cited by Chenoweth have little to do with social justice or liberation. At best they replace one oligarchy with another, with no radical change in social relations or even net gains in quality of life.

At one point, the Englers note that the same political science prize that Chenoweth won–the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award–was previously bestowed on Henry Kissinger. This, for them, is the height of irony: Chenoweth is, after all, the opposite of the Kissingers of the world. But while they may represent different sides of the aisle in terms of American political divisions, Chenoweth’s work is, in many ways, just as useful to the U.S. empire.

At the height of the Cold War, the government used Kissinger’s work to justify the “hard power” of the arms race and violent intervention against communist regimes. Today Chenoweth’s work helps to justify–and in this case, mystify–Obama’s “soft power” agenda of “democracy promotion” exercised through seemingly benign agencies like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)–the former organization was recently caught covertly organizing against the Castro government in Cuba. And while direct U.S. government involvement with pacifist academics is a relatively new development–emerging in the mid-2000s, around the same time that Gelderloos first observed that “nonviolence protects the state”–their financial relationship goes back at least to Gene Sharp’s first doctoral work in the late 1960s, which was funded by the Department of Defense.

But if the American empire promotes strictly nonviolent movement-building to overthrow its enemies, wouldn’t that demonstrate that it’s as powerful a method as its proponents say it is? The short answer is no. When civil resistance works–and when the U.S. government deploys it abroad–it’s almost always in combination with more violent forms of pressure. To illustrate this, one need look no further than the Yugoslav movement to unseat President Slobodan Miloševi?, which figures prominently in Chenoweth’s famous study and takes up more than thirty pages in This Is an Uprising. In the Englers’ version, this regime change is primarily attributable to Otpor, a “leaderless” student group from Serbia. Otpor promoted nonviolence in the Sharpian model, with an official policy to submit to arrest and abjure any kind of self-defense, even when the police physically abused them. In this way, they won the sympathy of the public and even the Serbian establishment.

But Otpor didn’t operate in a vacuum. Not only did they overthrow Miloševi? in the period when he had just lost a war with NATO, but also, in the midst of Otpor’s campaign, Miloševi? was being challenged by the armed insurgency of the UÇPMB (successor group to the Kosovo Liberation Army). On top of this, militant groups in Montenegro threatened to secede if he was re-elected. The Englers quote Otpor veterans’ claims that the NATO raids undermined the opposition and strengthened the regime, but the record shows that Otpor prospered in the aftermath of the bombing. One prominent civil resistance study acknowledges that “a number of middle and higher-ranking police and army officers made secret pacts with the democratic opposition and helped the movement forward.” Furthermore, Otpor’s victory was not strictly nonviolent: Anti-Miloševi? protesters rioted in October 2000 when the president refused to concede the election. The Englers admit, in passing, that things “got a little out of hand,” but they fail to describe the full extent of the insurrection: not only was there arson and other property destruction in Belgrade, but also the fact that an Otpor supporter killed a civilian by driving over him with a bulldozer.

This cherry-picked example of civil resistance winning its demands occurred in a context where both NATO and an armed guerilla group simultaneously made the same demand. And yet, under today’s political science taxonomy, this is what’s considered a nonviolent victory. Such dubious classification is common in the civil resistance world: Peter Ackerman, the venture capitalist who has funded much of Gene Sharp’s work, once claimed that Ukraine’s Euromaidan movement should be considered nonviolent because only a minority of the protesters threw firebombs and brandished guns.

A good faith argument for pacifist success in such cases would credit the intervening factors as a diversity of tactics supporting a nonviolent core, or attribute it to what is known in social movement theory as the “radical flank effect,” which argues that the presence of radical militants in a social movement helps make the less militant actors seem reasonable and worthy of having their demands met. Yet not only do the Englers undervalue such phenomena, they actively denounce them.

In spite of primarily advocating for nonviolent direct action, the Englers express support for electioneering, stating that while it is a separate tactic, it can complement civil resistance. If they are genuinely non-ideological strategists, they should take the same position towards guerilla activity. But, while the Englers repeatedly speak of the need for movements to “escalate,” they jerk back from any overlap with property destruction. This flinching is excused with a fable of the radical environmental advocacy movement Earth First! in the 1990s. The Englers paint the picture of a movement with a macho fetish for violence that was set right by the influence of the more moderate feminist Judi Bari, who enforced nonviolence and built the populist Redwood Summer campaign of 1990, winning political victories against logging in the Pacific Northwest. This success, the Englers claim, was in marked contrast with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), the monkeywrenching eco-saboteurs who left defected from Earth First! after the rise of Bari.

The ELF is portrayed as a gang of clowns who accomplished nothing besides getting themselves imprisoned. Yet the Englers also tell us that “in the end, Redwood Summer did not produce immediate legislative gains.” The best they can claim for the nonviolent campaign is “a 78 percent drop in logging in national forests.” The ELF began carrying out its arson and sabotage attacks on the logging and tourism industries in the Pacific Northwest in 1996; these years of victory were among ELF’s peak years of activity, when it was clearly functioning as the radical flank of Earth First! But the Englers’ attitude towards militants is eliminationist, not just separatist: the ELF shouldn’t have just left Earth First!, they should have ceased to exist at all. Such absolutism is completely contrary to Bari’s actual policy: “Earth First!, the public group, has a nonviolence code,” she wrote in 1994, “monkeywrenching is done by [the] Earth Liberation Front […] Civil disobedience and sabotage are both powerful tactics in our movement.”

The double standards that the authors apply between violent and nonviolent actors undermine their claims of unbiased pragmatism. When pacifist organizers provoke violent repression, the Englers regard it as a necessary cost of the campaign–“leading proponents of civil resistance emphasize that strategic nonviolent action […] may result in serious injuries and even casualties”–but when black blocs draw repression, it’s completely unacceptable. ACT UP are praised as “desperate, aggressive, and often exceptional young men,” who had the courage to risk “potentially alienating the very people that advocates want to win over.” The ELF, on the other hand, are pictured as fanatics with no strategy. When the civil rights movement employed “often unpopular” tactics, generating “overwhelmingly negative” reaction in public opinion polls, this was admirable; when the Weather Underground and other Vietnam-era militants defied public opinion, they were simply out-of-touch adventurists (even though the latter’s action led to massive troop withdrawals and a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age).

The Englers, it must be noted, have attempted to apply their precepts, not merely theorize them. In the wake of Occupy Wall Street, they helped organize the 99% Spring campaign, a coalition dominated by Moveon.org that aimed to put “hundreds of thousands” of people in the streets to change foreclosure policy. Coalition spokesman and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) executive Stephen Lerner promised to “engage the millions of people we need to do [sic] to build the kind of movement we need at this time in history.” According to him, this was a job that Occupy was not capable of doing without their guidance. In the end, the 99% Spring mobilized a few thousand people–far less than Occupy did nationwide–and had no impact on banking foreclosure policies, which remained abysmal. More recently, the brothers were involved with a nearly identical coalition–Democracy Spring/Democracy Awakening–based around campaign-finance reform. Initially, Democracy Spring seemed more tactically ambitious with a program of organizing mass civil disobedience at the Capitol Building. However, press coverage of the arrests turned out to be so meager that most of the campaign’s supporters were left distraught.

As historians and theorists of social movement, the Englers might have been able to see this failure coming, since they actually describe a precedent for their ineffectual campaigns in This Is an Uprising. In his 1962 project in Albany, Georgia, Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) left a yearlong campaign with no tangible civil rights advances achieved. King had been thwarted by Chief of Police Laurie Pritchett, who capitalized on SCLC’s nonviolent strategy by avoiding any appearance of brutality and de-escalating conflict between police and protesters, thereby pre-empting any dramatic scenes that could draw national attention. King’s reputation within the movement declined until the spectacular victory of the following year’s Birmingham campaign. The Englers spend over twenty pages on Birmingham, promising to demonstrate just why it succeeded while Albany failed, but they never do.

In truth, the Birmingham campaign benefitted from having both a police force and a protest movement that was markedly less peaceful than in Albany. King wasn’t able to get consistent media coverage until after protests became, as Taylor Branch put it, “a duel of rocks and fire hoses.” One of King’s aides, Vincent Harding, later acknowledged that the black youth who came to dominate the campaign’s street action were “the children of Malcom X” and that their escalation to “a burning, car-smashing, police-battling response” marked Birmingham as “the first of the period’s urban rebellions.” Historian Glenn Eskew wrote that “the aftermath of national protest, international pressure, and inner-city riot convinced a reluctant Kennedy administration to propose sweeping legislation that, once passed as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, marked a watershed in race relations.”

Yet these events of the Birmingham campaign are never mentioned in the Englers’ book in any form. It is here that the brothers step into outright dishonesty: they know very well that the scholarly consensus on Birmingham is that the violent protesters made an invaluable contribution (Eskew’s book is one of their sources). Yet in spite of spending a tenth of their book’s text on Birmingham, they refuse to even acknowledge the violent protesters’ existence.

Such historical censorship rationalizes the choreographed civil disobedience that the Englers help organize today, which quarantines “good protesters” from “bad protesters.” This, in turn, enables the same counter-strategy that Laurie Pritchett employed so effectively against King in Albany. What the Englers call “discipline” is actually de-escalation that facilitates police crowd control. Indeed, there is now a fully developed police doctrine known as “negotiated management” based on the avoidance of direct conflict with protesters. The National Lawyers’ Guild official, Traci Yoder, has written that negotiated management “is in many ways more effective […] in neutralizing social justice movements” than overt state repression.

But while the brothers focus on the SCLC at length, they fail to discuss the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who, the brothers passingly admit, pushed SCLC into its most productively confrontational actions. This is not only because the history of SNCC began with Gandhian practice, but also because it rapidly progressed beyond it. Although its militancy is sometimes attributed to Black Power-era missteps, SNCC’s commitment to a genuinely grassroots politics led it to work with openly armed African Americans as early as 1961 in Monroe, North Carolina, as well as with more discreetly armed black peoples all over the South. By spring 1964, SNCC associates in Cambridge, Maryland were having gunfights with the National Guard and one of the group’s advisers, Howard Zinn, noted that the movement had reached “the limits of nonviolence.” But it was crucial that those limits were reached, or there wouldn’t have been a Civil Rights Act.

In spite of its name, SNCC’s principles always had less to do with nonviolence than with organizing from the bottom-up. The group’s guiding light was Ella Baker, arguably the most important African American leader of the 20th century. As many have noted, Baker preached neither strategic nonviolence nor strategic violence. Drawing from her decades of experience, Baker counseled SNCC organizers to distance themselves from institutional power; they might maintain dialogue with the establishment left–trade unions and NGOs tied into what she called “the foundation complex”–but they should be wary of entering into partnerships with them. Instead they should follow the lead of working-class communities on the ground. This repeatedly led SNCC organizers away from nonviolence. Then as now, serious movements make serious enemies (think of the shootings last year in Charleston and Minneapolis) and self-defense quickly becomes paramount for frontline activists. Baker’s longtime friend and biographer Joanne Grant recounted that as pacifism faded away in SNCC, Baker “turned a blind eye to the prevalence of weapons. While she herself would rely on her fists […] she had no qualms about target practice.” At the same time, the failure of peaceful reform logically led oppressed communities towards insurrection.

It is often said that without the guidance of an anti-authoritarian and non-ideological figure like Ella Baker, the Black Power militants of SNCC began to lose perspective. Yet it can equally be said that the pacifists lost their way as well. The cause of social justice in America has been suffering from believing the former but not reckoning with the latter for the past forty years.

 

[Lorenzo Raymond is an independent historian and educator living in New York City. Lorenzo blogs at Diversityoftactics.org]

 

PODCAST: Deconstructing the Non-profit Industrial Complex [Introduction Episode]

 

Wrong Kind of Green

category: News & Politics

NGOs as a Force for Good? Get the Fuck Outta Here [Introduction Episode]

11/2/2016

This introductory podcast introduces listeners to NGOs that comprise the non-profit industrial complex. Hand in hand with the Rockefellers, George Soros, Bill Gates and other powerful elites, NGOs are meticulously shaping global society by utilizing and building upon strategic psychological marketing, soft power, technology and social media – shaping public consensus, thus acceptance, for the illusory “green economy”, “humanitarian” wars, and a novel sonata of 21st century colonialism. As we are now living in a world that is beyond dangerous, society must be aware of, be able to critically analyze, and ultimately reject the new onslaught of carefully orchestrated depoliticization, domestication of populace, propaganda and misinformation that is being perpetrated and perpetuated by the corporate elite and the current power structures that support their agenda. The non-profit industrial complex must be understood as a mainspring and the instrument of power, the very support and foundation of imperial domination.

Guests: Vanessa Beeley, independent researcher/ journalist and anti-war activist residing in France, Cory Morningstar independent researcher/ journalist focusing on ecology and the NPIC, residing in Canada and Forrest Palmer, electrical engineer, writer/editor for Wrong Kind of Green, residing in Texas, USA.

This is the first episode in a new weekly podcast that focuses exclusively on the non-profit industrial complex as a key instrument of empire in the 21st century.

 

The North Dakota Frontlines: Between A Standing Rock And A Hard Place

Wrong Kind of Green

October 4, 2016

by Forrest Palmer with Cory Morningstar

 

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On the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, an indigenous uprising which captured national attention in August 2016 that those in power hope will be naturally extinguished due to time and conventional society’s short attention span on matters such as this (this characteristic best represented by the Occupy movement of a few years ago). The outward reason for the present uproar is the passage of North Dakota portion of the Bakken pipeline through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation that will intersect the area’s sacred burial grounds, and, critically, could pollute the freshwater source of the region’s inhabitants. As the American populace is wholly averse to addressing this to any great degree, the cause of the indigenous being cloistered in these remote, isolated and destitute lands is our desire to not recognize the last remaining reminders of the price that was paid in order to establish this so-called ‘land of the free and home of the brave’.  In particular, this movement has brought to light the fact that the mainstream public is totally ignorant about this particular reservation and the reservation system in general when it comes to the atrocious living conditions of the descendants of those domestically colonized in this country.

To understand the base of the anger residing in the participants of the uprising, it is necessary to take a closer look at the lifestyle of the people on the Standing Rock Reservation

 

These are all the endemic signs of a people who are wholly broken due to centuries of systemic abuses by their conquerors. Therefore, the question isn’t why are the Standing Rock Sioux citizens involved in this rebellion. The question is why is anyone shocked when being pushed past this limit has led to this inevitable outcome. But, just like the proverbial straw that has broken the camel’s back, this current injustice is the catalyst for pushing the rightly aggrieved people past their breaking point as a community.

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As detailed above, what is being unreported and overlooked in this uprising (which is one of the first steps to any revolution, with it yet to be determined if this will be the end result in this occasion) is the fact that life on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation is insufferably toxic and this current maneuver by the state at the behest of private industry will make it worse in the present and increasingly so in the future. But in order to truly ascertain the level of disinterest shown by the United States in its dealings with the government’s internally colonized descendants that currently reside in the grey area between ethnic cleansing and outright genocide, any unbiased individual need look no further than the behavior of United States in its dealings with defeated foes domestically and the ones internationally. As a specific case, the response by the United States in its treaties with the defeated foes of the Third Axis externally after World War II is the direct opposite of that implemented with the internal First Nations tribes. The treaties entered into by the United States with the defeated Axis powers and the resulting policies were totally in line with the promise to rebuild infrastructure that would be installed in the charred remains of Europe due to the war’s decimating effects, even those of its former enemies during the war. As the current successful state of the defeated combatants is a testament to the United States keeping its promise subsequent to its victory, it must be asked why is it that Nazi Germany, Imperialist Japan and Fascist Italy were given preferable treaty terms and the promises held fast to by the United States, which is in stark contrast to the historical treatment of a full-out genocide executed upon the remaining indigenous in this country, who are purported sovereign citizens of the United States.

The reason being is that the Marshall Plan, the United States economic framework of rebuilding Western Europe and Southeast Asia, and its attending policies were beneficial to the economic strength and growth of power of the United States, which allowed it to become the present and primary global entity. Hence, the United States had an economic reason to rebuild the broken shards of these areas that comprised the war theaters. Oppositely, there never has been and never will be an economic incentive for the United States to invest and fortify the reservations or support the people who inhabit them since their prosperity will never be a benefit to capitalism, but a drain on its precarious and ever dwindling resources.

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Photo: Terray Sylvester

To further illustrate the removal of the indigenous from the consciousness of almost all the people internal to the country who aren’t a part of the First Nation communities, the invisibility of the native in comparison to every other non-anglo furthers their collective removal from any discussion in terms of white supremacy and its deleterious effects on internal non-European populations. The closest in proximity to the tangible aspects of impoverishment and oppression of the indigenous in the U.S. would be the black and brown communities, identified as the descendants of the formally enslaved Africans and Latins from south of the U.S. border, respectively. Yet, in this particular instance, the black and brown U.S. citizens reside in a much better position due to the necessity of their particular existences in comparison to the decimated First Nation populations, who are congregated in the farthest outposts of the United States. The fact that black and brown people exist in areas close to the hubs of capitalism of major cities in the United States (as they always have been) and still are a necessary form of labor in an expression of white supremacy by historically doing jobs that anglos were and are unwilling to do means that any uprising these communities participated in would be disruptive to the economic system of capitalism that is the foundation of national prosperity. As the First Nations people reside in land that is far removed from the primary places and industries of which commerce is reliant upon, any comparable disruption in their present areas will have no effect upon the everyday ability of capitalism to function.

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Therefore, unlike every other non-anglo ethnicity in the country that can have some type of effect on the system, the indigenous population can remain isolated and unheard with no means of popular acknowledgement in terms of its ever present painful condition. Tragically, the only reason that this agony is heard to any degree presently and any problems addressed to any facile measure is to allow the dominant culture to not acknowledge that it has effectively decimated the entirety of the indigenous population while at the same time not deal with the guilt (if there would be any) of delivering the final death blow of genocide that has always been the unspoken threat directed at the relative handful of people still residing in the United States. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for this piece of pipeline that will only stretch a few miles into the region of the Standing Rock Reservation, there would be no reason whatsoever to even acknowledge their present protest, let alone do anything about it.

So, the presence of this seemingly spontaneous protest has dual layers to it. On the surface, it is about this singular pipeline and the possible problems that may arise due to its placement in close proximity to their living area.  However, in the same vein as non-violent direct action (NVDA) is based on the civil rights movement in the United States and its perceived success here in this country (although all evidence points to the contrary), many of the singular atrocities that galvanized the black community to utilize this particular means of protest, such as the murder of Emmitt Till and the arrest of Rosa Parks for not sitting in the back of the bus, were mere sparks that set off the powder keg that was already present in society due to the centuries long oppression that preceded them.

Similarly, the pipeline is just the catalyst for addressing inequities that have laid dormant for far too long. This is the layer beneath the surface where the righteous anger residing on the reservation has been fomenting since the natives were forced into this open air prison by the barrel of a gun decades ago. Whether it was this pipeline or some other form of intrusion on the land that the state said was theirs after surrendering as an entire ethnic group in order to not be fully exterminated, the need for capitalism to continuously gobble up everything in its path inevitably led to this current situation, where the natives are a harbinger for all of mankind as the extremities of needed energy accumulation will close on all of us more and more with each passing day whether we choose to accept it or not. And as current flow always follows the path of least resistance, the state has always looked first to the reservation system and its inhabitants to appropriate anything it may need to survive since the continued existence of the indigenous is seen as an inconvenience rather than a necessity by most non-indigenous citizens in this country.

As NVDA is a remnant of the aforementioned much ballyhooed civil rights movement, the response by the state has advanced and evolved while the tactics employed by the ethnic victims in regards to white supremacy has stagnated and remained the same. This is no more apparent than in the current actions by private interests regarding the indigenous uprising. During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the state employed attack dogs on protestors as a response to their marches. In the present iteration of the response, it isn’t the state that has employed these abusive tactics, it is the corporation that now has its paid minions to deliver counterattacks to the movement. ICYMI, a private security company, was employed by the manufacturers of the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, to confront the protesters by employing attack dogs to disperse the crowd and put a final end to this perceived effrontery to the dominant culture.

As this is a new wrinkle in the oppression of the masses, the million-dollar question is who or what is supposed to be held accountable for any injuries caused by the use of these tactics by private interests? Is it now a civil matter, even though the state is saying that it is in the public interest to have this land for the pipeline, as the term “eminent domain” is as nebulous term imaginable in masking the interest of private corporations by way of determining land appropriation as an expression of the public good. Can the corporation be taken to civil court for these attacks? As the land is in the grey area of appropriation, is it public or private land at this juncture? These are all legal questions that aren’t being addressed because the hope was that this endeavor would cease all of the ongoing uproar in North Dakota. In addition, these ill-defined forms of accountability make it much more difficult for the aggrieved to seek redress from those in power.

In the end, the most important thing for this uprising is to not just relegate the movement to this pipeline and the leaders must speak honestly about the need to attend to all the inequalities that have been imposed on the natives on this particular reservation and the reservation system as a whole. Of the over 500 treaties that have been entered into between the government and the First Nations people, all have been broken in some form or fashion by the U.S. government.  And these acts of broken treaties have been deemed legal by the same justice system that is supposed to be fair and balanced in its decision making as it purports to be based on an eponymous “rule of law”, something not reliant on the arbitrary positions of man. Yet, the U.S. populace readily believes this when all empirical evidence shows that this is anything but the case. Either the “rule of law” is faulty or our implementation of it is at issue.  More than likely, it is just a nice term utilized by the powers that be to inculcate people into an imaginary belief that when the outcome of a particular case is not to their well being or liking it is because of the weakness of the case and not due to systemic biases related to the arbiters culturally inculcated belief that anglo ethnicity and the attending economic system is more important than any aggrievement of the indigenous.

Whatever the reason for these decisions, the fact of the matter is that Einstein once famously said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. As such, there can be nothing more insane than expecting redress from the same justice system that has deemed 500 instances of broken treaties over a span of centuries to all of a sudden change course in this given instance regarding the ongoing pipeline conflict. Hence, this movement must be utilized as a tool to recognize, respect and ultimately implement the indigenous stated goals of self-determination, decolonization and self-government.

It is going to take a concerted effort that goes beyond a simplified NVDA that was used to allow black people the “privilege” of doing acts that are in hindsight trivial things, such using the same bathrooms as white people. The old stale tactics of the past can’t be used as the goals aren’t the same in this instance (self-determination from people who aren’t looking for integration as they want to be recognized as a sovereign nation within a nation) as those previously attempting to be obtained during the civil rights movement (an assimilationist integration based off of a wholly acknowledged acceptance regarding non-anglo inferiority by both oppressors and oppressed). To use sports as an analogy, this is akin to using a baseball bat on a soccer field or utilizing a hockey stick during a basketball game.

As this is the case, the strategy employed by the modern indigenous can’t be the same as those who preceded them in this country.  As Cuba famously utilized its guerrilla strategy in assisting African nations in their battles to end European colonialism, the devices employed by the First Nation members must be different than anything ever employed previously.  What is to stop the indigenous from aligning their interests with MEND in the Niger River Delta, whose enemy is also the multinational corporations trespassing on its land? This is another organization that is going through the same issues as the Standing River Sioux and numerous other tribes, like the Black Hill Sioux and their land being destroyed by uranium mining and coal mining on the Black Mesa plateau that has disaffected the water source of the Hopi and Navajo tribes. In addition, there needs to be a network of groups who have the same interests who must now band together with a common goal which is to stop the continuous encroachment of private interests in their particular domains at one level, as well as to address the fact that this will invariably be all of us.

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When all is said and done, this protest in North Dakota is the only portion of this conflict that is for the good of the public as the pipeline itself is anything but a benefit to humans or any other life form, no matter what portions of the mainstream society profess in this regard.  By any measurement of what is beneficial to the continuance of sentient beings on this Earth, the uprising in North Dakota is one of the few relevant ongoing acts presently. Although near-term human extinction (NTHE) is almost a certainty at this point, whatever portion of life that can be salvaged, be it human or otherwise, must start somewhere and it has to be at the grassroots level since the expectation that any portion of the establishment will save us is beyond insane when all evidence to this juncture has proven otherwise.

Ultimately, the First Nation members need to use this as a catalyst for an overall change in their collective living circumstances. Their problems reside in having their entire existence totally dependent on the goodwill of a white power structure that still sees them as savages. This structure, whose continuance is dependent on institutional racism, only gives a nod to the indigenous when they dress like them, use them as mascots or talk about the fact that their members’ great, great, great grandma was a First Nation member or something to that effect. Other than those few useless nods to the people and culture, the systemic need is to keep them isolated, weak and emaciated on a reservation where the only thing to be done is take the resources under their feet and relegate them to eternal impoverishment and disenfranchisement.

As the pipeline is a mere conduit of the resource that flows through its vessels, the uproarious response by the First Nations community is the conduit of the centuries long anger which as has been internalized on these outposts of human despair. We can only hope that the rupture of  First Nation emotions will make all of the previous pipeline fissures pale in comparison.

 

Wildlife Conservationists need to Break out of their Stockholm Syndrome

Global Policy

August 30, 2016

by Margi Prideaux

 

Instead of fighting a destructive economic system, international conservation NGOs are bonding with its brutality.

staved-polar-bear

“A male polar bear starved to death as a consequence of climate change. This polar bear was last tracked by the Norwegian Polar Institute in April 2013 in southern Svalbard. Polar bears need sea ice to hunt seals, their main prey. The winter of 2012-2013 was one of the worst on record for sea ice extent. The western fjords on Svalbard that normally freeze in winter remained ice-free all season.” Ashley Cooper/Corbis [Source: Polar Bears on Thin Ice]

Conservationists like me want a world where wildlife has space, where wild places exist, and where we can connect with the wild things. Yet time after time, like captives suffering from Stockholm syndrome, wildlife conservation NGOs placate, please and emulate the very forces that are destroying the things they want to protect.

Despite our collective, decades-long, worldwide commitment to protect wildlife, few indicators are positive. The Red List that’s issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature now includes 22,784 species that are threatened with extinction. Habitat loss is the main problem for 85 per cent of species on the list.

The number of African rhinos killed by poachers, for example, has increased for the sixth year in a row. Pangolins are now the most heavily poached and trafficked mammals on the planet. One third of the world’s freshwater fish are at risk from new hydropower dams. Two hundred amphibians have already gone and polar bears are probably doomed. Human beings are simply taking too much from the world for its rich diversity to survive.

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A close up of Katiti the Pangolin  ©Christian Boix

None of this is news to people in the conservation movement. The reality of devastation has been apparent for many years, which should prompt some soul-searching about why we are failing.

The main reason is that we are allowing the market to dictate conservation while ignoring the very people we should empower.

Communities everywhere know their non-human kin—the animals that live among them. We know the seasons we share, and what grows when and where. We know the ebb and flow of life in our shared places. For some, those vistas are forests. Others look out to the sea, and some on endless frozen horizons. These are not empty places. They are filled with wildlife with which human beings commune.

But if wildlife are local, the impacts of human activity on them are unquestionably global, and they require global management. Industrialized fishing, mining, forestry and mono-agriculture raze whole areas and replace diversity with a single focus. The illegal international trade in exotic species provides a path for the unethical to hunt, kill, package and commodify animals and plants. The market’s quest for resources and power floods, burns and devastates whole landscapes.

For the last two decades, the conservation movement of the global North has believed that little can be done to counterbalance the might of this vast economic system, so the reaction has been to bond with it and accept its brutality—to please it and copy its characteristics. In the process, organizations in this movement have developed the classic symptoms of psychological capture and dependence through which victims develop a bond with, and sympathy for, their captors.

I’m being deliberately provocative here by evoking Stockholm syndrome because it clarifies the crucial point I want to make: I believe that the conservation movement’s unhealthy relationship with the global economic system exacerbates harm to both people and wildlife.

NGOs in Europe and North America raise money from philanthropists, corporations and other donors to arrange or establish protected areas that extend over large, pristine and fragile lands in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The public in the global North flock to their ambition, hoping it will lock precious places away from harm and raising even more money in the process. But this support turns a blind eye to the inconvenient fact that these areas exclude local communities—people who have lived for millennia beside flamingos and tigers, orangutans and turtles and who are just as wronged by big business and globalization as are wildlife.

These agencies also court the market by selling ‘adoption products’ and ‘travel experiences’ to these protected areas. They smooth out the ripples from their messages so that their supporters’ sensibilities are not offended. They deflect attention away from harmful corporations. They expand their marketing departments and shut down their conservation teams. They adopt the posture and attributes of the very things—capitalism, consumerism and the market—that destroy what they seek to protect.

Hence, their capture-bond is informing how they see the world. In their efforts to please and emulate the market they fail to look for the broader, systemic causes of elephant poaching or killing sharks for their fins. They trade stands of forests for agreements with corporations and international agencies not to campaign against dams that will flood whole valleys. They defend sport hunting by wealthy western tourists as legitimate ‘conservation’.

For example, the Gonds and the Baigas—tribal peoples in India—have been evicted from their ancestral homelands to make way for tiger conservation. Tourist vehicles now drive through their lands searching for tigers, and new hotels have been built in the same zones from which they were evicted.

Or take Indonesia, where massive illegal deforestation has burned and destroyed huge areas of precious rainforest. Even though a court order and a national commission have compelled the government to hand ownership of the forests back to the people who live there, the corporate sector is resisting. At times they hide behind their NGO partners through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a global, multi-stakeholder initiative that includes many conservation NGOs as members.

International NGOs have scuppered efforts to control polar bear trophy hunting in the Arctic while they benefit from lucrative corporate partnerships for other areas of polar bear conservation. A major project run by Conservation International in the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor of Madagascar has restricted villagers’ use of their traditional forests for food harvesting in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and NRG Energy are all members of the organisation’s Business & Sustainability Council.

Even worse is the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), which stands accused of breaches of OECD Guidelines on the Conduct of Multinational Enterprises and of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. The complaint in question alleges that WWF has financed and supported ecoguards that have brutally displaced the Baka tribespeople who have traditionally lived in the area now declared as a national park in Cameroon, while turning a blind eye to the destruction of the Baka’s way of life through logging, mining and the trafficking of wildlife.

wwf

Stephen Corry, the director of Survival International (which in this case is blowing the whistle on another NGO), has this to say:

“WWF knows that the men its supporters fund for conservation work repeatedly abuse, and even torture, the Baka, whose land has been stolen for conservation zones. It hasn’t stopped them, and it treats criticism as something to be countered with yet more public relations.”

Writing on openDemocracy, Gordon Bennett argues that NGOs might avoid toxic situations like this if they undertook proper investigations before committing to new parks and protected areas. I agree, but I also believe that WWF should have supported the Baka people to propose their own solutions to conserving their forests instead of assuming that a park and ecoguards were the answer.

These depressing examples are being replicated around the world. The situation will only get worse as human populations increase. Local communities and wildlife are bound to lose out.

The world is changing, however, and local civil society is on the rise. International conservation NGOs therefore need to think long and hard about their relevance as local groups grow stronger. As more communities gain access to international politics, they will be trampled on less easily by agendas from afar. The challenge is to ensure that they become empowered to look after their own land and the wildlife around them.

If the conservation movement is brave enough to transform the ways in which it works, it can support this process of empowerment and the radical changes that come with it. It can connect with local civil society groups as a partner and not as a decision maker. It can devolve its grip on how conservation is conceived and respond to community ideas and wisdom about protecting the wildlife with which they live.

In this task the conservation movement has a lot to offer. International NGOs are skilled and experienced, and they have access to international processes of negotiation and decision making. If they free themselves from corporate pressures and transform themselves into supporters of local civil society, together everyone is stronger. NGOs can help to project the unpasteurised voices of local communities into the halls of the United Nations.

To do any of these things, however, they must remember who they were before they were captured. It’s time to break free from Stockholm syndrome.

 

 

[Dr Margi Prideaux is an international wildlife policy writer, negotiator and academic. She has worked within the conservation movement for 25 years. Her forthcoming book Birdsong After the Storm: Global Environmental Governance, Civil Society and Wildlife will be released in early 2017.  She writes at www.wildpolitics.co and you can follow her on twitter @WildPolitics.]

 

FURTHER READING:

Fundacion Pachamama is Dead – Long Live ALBA [Part VII of an Investigative Report]

BLACK LIVES MATTER RESISTS UHURU MOVEMENT’S MESSAGE OF BLACK POWER

The Burning Spear

July 14, 2016

 

L-R: Kalambayi Andenet, Yashica Clemmons and Gazi Kodzo; members of the Uhuru Movement.

TAMPA––Black Lives Matter held a demonstration and a march at the Lykes Gaslight Park on July 11, 2016. The demonstration was held in response to the murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA and Philando Castillo in Chicago by police. The Uhuru Movement made it a point to be at that demonstration.

The Uhuru Movement did not go to fight racism or to remind anyone that we matter. We went to spread the ideas of African Internationalism, the theory of the African (black) working to the masses of Africans who gathered in search of answers to ending the genocide being committed against us in the form of police murders.

The demonstrators noticed the comrades of the Uhuru Movement as soon as we exited our vehicles and got in formation.

Our large red, black, and green flags were held high as comrades organized themselves behind the banner which showed the picture of Pinellas County sheriff who murdered three African girls––Dominique Battle, Ashaunti Bulter and La’Niyah Miller––in St. Petersburg, FL.

Colonial media reporters flocked to the members of our Movement immediately once they saw our flags, the banner and heard shouts of “Uhuru.”

Gazi Kodzo was interviewed by St. Petersburg’s channel 10 news. He explained our purpose for attending the demonstration.

The comrades of the Uhuru Movement approached the crowd silently, but our presence screamed out to the people that we were an organized, disciplined and uncompromising force for liberation.

Evangelizing African Internationalism at the demonstration

Comrades Kalonde and Muteba circled the crowd, passing out fliers with information about our “3 Drowned Black Girls” campaign.

Protestors held signs with the two recent victims’ names, as well as signs that read “stop police terror.” There was an African man wearing a T-shirt with the words “Am I next?”

They had various speakers who addressed the crowd over bullhorn. One such speaker criticized African people and blamed us for the oppression that we face. He stated that Africans “need to clean around our own yard first.”

The next person to speak was a sister who referenced Dr. King’s message of peace and nonviolence. She stated that the police are here “to protect and serve” and ended almost every statement with “in Jesus name.”

The weak, vague and passive messages came to halt once members of our Movement spoke to the crowd.

Yashica Clemmons, mother of Dominique Battle––one of the three girls who drowned at the hands of the sheriff’s deputies of Pinellas County––told her story after being introduced by comrade Gazi.

Mike Reed, a resident of Tampa, broke down in tears as Yashica spoke. He told The Burning Spear that he was crying because “they don’t give a f*ck about us.”

International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) president Kalambayi Andenet set the crowd on fire after Yashica’s speech.

She delivered a clear, direct message to the demonstrators which educated them on African Internationalism, unlike the speakers before her.

Kalambayi told the crowd, “We [the Uhuru Movement] understand that the system cannot be fixed. We want a new system.”

Her message was so strong and revolutionary that Kelly Benjamin––a white organizer for the Service Employees International Union––attempted to silence her. He attempted to get the African members of his organization to silence her, however they refused.

He then tried to remove Kalambayi himself and take away the megaphone himself. He was met with fierce resistance from our comrades in the Uhuru Movement, as we chanted “let her speak.” The rest of the demonstrators, thoroughly engaged in our revolutionary message, joined into our chanted and demanded that Kalambayi speak.

Benjamin was forced by all the demonstrators to stand down.

Kalambayi continued and encouraged Africans and and white people to join the revolutionary organizations of the Uhuru Movement. “Join a revolutionary organization. That is the only way that Africans will be free,” said President Kalambayi towards the end of her powerful speech.

Benjamin, now red in the face, then attempted once more to silence InpDUM’s President by invading her personal space. He was met with resistance by comrade Aaron, who demanded that Kelly “back up.”

Ultimately, one of the organizers of the march, an African individual, and perhaps one of the members of Kelly’s organization, also aided comrade Aaron in getting the now-enraged Kelly to back down.

Benjamin, left without any other option, then begged our comrade Chimurenga for the Megaphone which Kalambayi spoke into.

The comrades of the Uhuru Movement passed out fliers, received petition signatures and even received new member sign-ups from the Africans in the crowd.

Members of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement––the white people who work under the leadership of the Africans of the Movement––also received new member sign-ups.

The Revolutionary Vanguard of the African Working Class

The crowd’s handlers proceeded to corral the demonstrators into the street to march.

Comrades of Uhuru Movement organized into our march formation under the leadership of African National Women’s Organization(ANWO) President, Yejide Orunmila.

The movement moved with razor sharp precision while staying several paces behind the Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

A number of demonstrators who showed up to the protest, were won to the movement and marched with us towards our end goal, instead of being led blindly by the Black Lives Matter group.

The demonstration moved on to “shut down” the highway. Comrade Yejide made the decision for our comrades to not continue in that direction. We turned off and made our way back to the Gaslight Park.

This was a strategic move for us as we are not struggling to be arrested. We are fighting for our freedom.

The Movement did a summation of the march in a nearby parking lot. The people who left the original march to follow the Uhuru Movement remained present for this as well. They united with our politic and our goals and expressed that they will be joining our Movement.

Kenneth Johnson, told The Burning Spear, “The Movement said what needed to be said.”

The Uhuru Movement is a cohesive unit of Africans united under a single political line.

We are always clear that we want freedom. We understand that the State is designed to oppress the African people through violence and terror.

The State is only here to “protect and serve” the interest of the white ruling class––white power.

Black lives won’t matter until we get Black Power. Africans must come into political organization and join the Uhuru Movement and the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). We have solutions to the oppression that we face as Africans in the U.S. and worldwide. We must work to overturn colonialism, that is the only way that we can prevent police murders.

We urge every African to come into political life, and join the Vanguard of the African working class. Visit JoinAPSP.org.

Black Power Matters!

Join the African People’s Socialist Party

Join the Uhuru Movement!

We are winning!

 

NVDA Training Teaches White Paternalism at Camp Standing Rock

Wrong Kind of Green

September 16, 2016

oka-three-armed-warriors

What the white man seeks to destroy and what the non-profit industrial complex is financed to carry out: the destruction of the Indigenous Warrior culture. This is not news to native people, however, this reality is all but lost on today’s white “left”. Photo: Mohawk Warriors, Oka Crisis, Canada, 1990. Photograph: Armed warriors at Kanesatake during the 1990 “Oka Crisis.” / Gazette John Mahoney (CTY). [Further reading: Part II of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement, September 19, 2011]

The following comment is from a film director who just returned from the camp at Standing Rock. What she witnessed is the historical paternalism that is reminiscent of the ‘Indian schools’ where proper comportment was wholly identified as the ability to assimilate into Anglo structures. We thank this person for recognizing and  sharing what she witnessed. That this took place on native land – shows egotism and white paternalism still very much exists, is being taught/modeled (via NGO “training”/*NVDA dogma), has no bounds – and no shame. (*non-violent direct action)

Camp participant:

“I just returned from the camp at standing rock and I can report that this[referencing the article: All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide] is exactly what has happened. I sat in on the first two non violent action trainings brought into the camp to help teach protestors how to “de-escalate” even to the point of pulling young men (warriors) aside and chastising them (gently of course) for their anger. They were also told not to wear bandanas over their faces but to proudly be identified. A chill went up and down me. The national guard was brought in a couple of days ago to “help with traffic” and now today protestors (called ” protectors”) were arrested by guards in complete riot gear. This will not end well.”

The following is an excerpt from the report: All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide, published September 13, 2016:

Enter #NODAPL Solidarity

One would be hard pressed to find on any website such extensive NVDA (non-violent direct action) dogma as found on the #NoDAPL Solidarity website (created on August 29, 2016 by Nick Katkevich, noted liberal strategist who is the co-creator of the group FANG – Fighting Against Natural Gas). Especially in light of this website being meant to be interpreted as representative of Indigenous resistance. Yet, Indigenous peoples do not espouse NVDA as an ideology – this is the ideology belonging to and peddled by the NPIC. The fact is, Indigenous peoples retain a deep-rooted (and enviable) warrior ideology – deeply ingrained in the Indigenous culture. This is what the NPIC seeks to destroy. Because of the arrogance and paternalism of those within the NPIC, they even believe they will be successful in doing so. This site is sponsored by Rising Tides North America (RTNA), which can be identified under the “Friends and Allies” (North America) section on the 350.org website. Many view RTNA as a sister org. to Rainforest Action Network, with a more radical veneer, the common link being Scott Parkin: “Scott Parkin is a climate organizer working with Rainforest Action Network, Rising Tide North America and the Ruckus Society.” (see the multitude of Ruckus documents/links on screenshot below). [Source]

nodapl-nvda

Further irony arises when one takes note of the Martin Luther King quote on the “indigenous led resistance” website (see screenshot above). Ask yourself why Indigenous resistance would choose to quote MLK (a long-time favourite co-opted and sanitized icon of the NPIC), rather than a quote from their own warriors.

Leave it to white “leftists” to retain their unwavering belief they have the right and superior knowledge to manage/shape how Indigenous struggles should be led. This is the same “left” (funded by the establishment) that has failed at virtually everything except for the main task assigned by the elites they kowtow to: keeping current power structures intact.

dakota-org

And yet…

Although the white left would never believe it to be true, the Indigenous Peoples have a wisdom and knowledge the Euro-Americans lack altogether. They are not part of our depraved society. So why would wise people succumb to the whims of the NPIC? There is perhaps a very good reason why the tribes standing with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are not opposed to the white left saturation who will never fail to rush in front for the cameras: to place them in front to stop the bullets from being fired (“Don’t Shoot”). Indigenous peoples have been subjected to horrendous racism since the first European colonizers arrived, which continues to this day. The reality being white activists have no fear of being shot and killed by police regardless of their actions, whereby the same actions are opportunities for the state to kill natives, blacks and minorities.

For media sensation and photographs that will travel the globe, those at the helm of the NPIC ensure that publicly, Indigenous Peoples most always appear in the forefront – all while strategizing behind closed doors to take leadership. When they cannot do so, they vacate the movement, work to marginalize and if possible bury, the legitimate work they were unable to take over. The 2010 People’s Agreement (Cochabamba, Bolivia), led by Indigenous peoples, is an excellent example of just this. The white man has proven incapable of involvement if he is not soon in charge. He has proven himself incapable of following, learning, listening… standing behind. Keeping his mouth closed. The ugly reality is that these are racist, fascist organizations, only there to protect current power structures and count bodies. Social media metrics are far more important than disposable people.

“When the Enviros show up, their literature and banner is strung up against the wall. We are pushed into our place. Most have had a bad taste from wasicu hypocrisy.”  — Harold One Feather

Those at the helm of the NGOs that comprise the NPIC will not be joining land defenders that are willing to die to protect their land, people, culture and ancestry. For these cowards, the brand is too valuable, the price too high. The warrior culture too strong (unruly savages!) to contain. Instead they will throw a few crumbs and send their well-intentioned youth followers as the sacrificial lambs to test the waters. The Indigenous that live within the Bakken are the only credible organizers in opposition to the frack oil developments. It is an understood but unspoken reality that within this resistance, people are going to die.

“Much of the camp’s rhetoric is of the “Non-violent Direct Action” type. Lock your arm to this piece of deconstruction equipment and take a picture with a banner for Facebook. But the Warrior Culture that is so rich in Lakota memory seems to counter a lot of the liberal, non-violent, NGO types. Comrades saw what happened in Iowa, heard about the $1,000,000 in damage and got inspired. I wouldn’t say that it was publicly celebrated because the camp’s tactic of “Non-violence” is the image they want to perpetuate. Like I said, it is a tactic… not everyone thinks that is what we need to dogmatically stick to. It is one thing to use Non-Violence as a rhetorical device in corporate media to spread your inspirational actions but it is another thing to preach it as your dogma in your private circles and use it to stop material damage to the infrastructure of ecocide. I see the former being invoked much greater than the latter.” — A CONVERSATION ON THE SACRED STONE CAMP, Sept 4, 2016

One may also wonder about the Pledge of Resistance being “organized” by the CREDO corporation: “Many thanks to our friends at CREDO who organized the Pledge of Resistance against Keystone XL—the Bakken Pipeline pledge borrows liberally from their work.” Bold Iowa, Source]

ran-credo-kxl

Above poster from the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, 2013

All eyes ON one (single) pipeline.

All eyes OFF the acceleration of genocide of Indigenous peoples in the Bakken.

All eyes OFF Bakken fracking oil.

north-dakota-crude-pipelines

Further reading:

All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide

Obedience – A New Requirement for the “Revolution”

 

Erased By False Victory: Obama Hasn’t Stopped DAPL

Transformative Spaces

September 10, 2016

by Kelly Hayes

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#NoDAPL protesters gather for a boat action in Standing Rock on August 20. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

 

All Native struggles in the United States are a struggle against erasure. The poisoning of our land, the theft of our children, the state violence committed against us — we are forced to not only live in opposition to these ills, but also to live in opposition to the fact that they are often erased from public view and public discourse, outside of Indian Country. The truth of our history and our struggle does not match the myth of American exceptionalism, and thus, we are frequently boxed out of the narrative.

The struggle at Standing Rock, North Dakota, has been no exception, with Water Protectors fighting tooth and nail for visibility, ever since the Sacred Stone prayer encampment began on April 1.

For months, major news outlets have ignored what’s become the largest convergence of Native peoples in more than a century. But with growing social media amplification and independent news coverage, the corporate media had finally begun to take notice. National attention was paid. Solidarity protests were announced in cities around the country. The National Guard was activated in North Dakota.

The old chant, “The whole world is watching!” seemed on the verge of accuracy in Standing Rock.

And then came today’s ruling, with a federal judge finding against the Standing Rock Sioux, and declaring that construction of the pipeline could legally continue. It was the ruling I expected, but it still stung. I felt the sadness, anger and disappointment that rattled many of us as we received the news. But then something happened. Headlines like, “Obama administration orders ND pipeline construction to stop” and “The Obama Administration Steps In to Block the Dakota Access Pipeline” began to fill my newsfeed, with comments like, “Thank God for Obama!” attached to them.

Clearly, a major plot twist has occurred. But it’s not the one that’s being sold.

To understand that this isn’t the victory it’s being billed as, you have to read the fine print in the presently lauded joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior:

“The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws.”

Note what’s actually being said here, what’s being promised and what isn’t.

What is actually being guaranteed?

Further consideration.

But this next section is a little more promising, right?

“Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.  The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution.  In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahu.”

So things are on hold at Lake Oahe until the powers that be think it through some more — with no assurances about how they’ll feel when it’s all said and done. The rest is a voluntary ask being extended to the company.

Let’s reflect on that for a moment: A company that recently sicced dogs on Water Protectors, including families, who stepped onto a sacred site to prevent its destruction, is being asked to voluntarily do the right thing.

But the thing is, they probably will. For a moment. Because what’s being asked of them isn’t an actual reroute. Right now, all that’s being asked is that they play their part in a short term political performance aimed at letting the air out of a movement’s tires.

Presidential contender Hillary Clinton was beginning to take a bit of heat for her silence on the Standing Rock struggle. Between Jill Stein’s participation in a lockdown action, broadening social media support for the cause, and the beginnings of substantial media coverage, #NoDAPL was on the verge of being a real thorn in Clinton’s side. And with more than 3,000 Natives gathered in an unprecedented act of collective resistance, an unpredictable and possibly transformational force was menacing a whole lot of powerful agendas.

So what did the federal government do? Probably the smartest thing they could have: They gave us the illusion of victory.

As someone who organizes against state violence, I know the patterns of pacification in times of unrest all too well. When a Black or Brown person is murdered by the police, typically without consequence, and public outrage ensues, one of the pacifications we are offered is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will investigate the shooting. It’s a deescalation tactic on the part of the state. It helps transition away from moments when rage and despair collide, creating a cooling off period for the public. “Justice” is still possible, we are told. We are asked to be patient as this very serious matter is investigated at the highest level of government, and given all due consideration.

The reality, of course, is that the vast majority of investigations taken up by the DOJ Civil Rights Division end in dismissal – a batting average that’s pretty much inverse to that of other federal investigations. But by the time a case gets tossed at the federal level, it’s probably not front page news anymore, and any accumulated organizing momentum behind the issue may have been lost — because to many people, the mere announcement of a federal investigation means that the system is working. Someone is looking into this, they’re assured. Something is being done. Important people have expressed that they care, and thus there is hope.

So how is this similar to what’s happening with Standing Rock?

It’s the same old con game.

Federal authorities are going to give a very serious matter very serious consideration, and then… we’ll see.

The formula couldn’t be clearer.

As the joint statement says, “this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”

Discussion.

How many times have marginalized people been offered further discussion when what they needed was substantive action? And how often has the mere promise of conversation born fruit for those in a state of protest?

But this is a great moment for the Democrats. A political landmine has been swept out of Hillary Clinton’s path and Obama will be celebrated as having “stopped a pipeline” when the project has, at best, been paused. After all, an actual pause in construction, outside of the Lake Oahe area, assumes the cooperation of a relentless, violent corporation, that has already proven it’s wiling to let dogs loose on children to keep its project on track.

But Dakota Access, LLC probably will turn off its machines — for a (very) little while. They’ll wait for the media traction that’s been gained to dissipate, and for the #NoDAPL hashtag to get quieter. They’ll wait until the political moment is less fraught, and their opposition is less amped. And then they will get back to work — if we allow it.

Here’s the real story: This fight has neither been won nor lost. Our people are rising and they are strong. But the illusion of victory is a dangerous thing. Some embrace it because they don’t know better, some because they need to. We all want happy endings. Hell, I long for them, and I get tired waiting. But if you raise a glass to Obama and declare this battle won, you are erasing a battle that isn’t over yet. And by erasing an ongoing struggle, you’re helping to build a pipeline.

 

[Kelly Hayes is co-founding member of The Chicago Light Brigade and an organizer with We Charge Genocide.]

All Eyes On Dakota Access – All Eyes Off Bakken Genocide

Wrong Kind of Green

September 13, 2016

by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

“Soon the parade begins again…all the big shot enviros are looking for their token Indians…this Hunkpapa says to remember this day of infamy…they hate us as well….taken nearly ten years ago, waiting for the right moment…” — Harold One Feather 

If nothing else, the *Bold Iowa video published on August 17, 2016 titled Bakken Pipeline: The New Keystone XL demonstrates that the cat is finally out of the bag amongst liberal left campaigners.

“We got essentially Keystone – only more. Clearly an end run.” — Iowa Bold, August 17, 2016

Background:

May 24, 2016: Construction underway on the *Bakken Pipeline, more recently referred to as the Dakota Access Pipeline: “Energy Transfer Partners has 100 percent of the easements needed for the project in North Dakota, as well as in South Dakota, but it is still awaiting U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit approval for water crossings. Construction has also begun in Illinois, where 99 percent of easements have been obtained, Granado said. About 90 percent of easements are in place in Iowa.” [*For the purpose of familiarity and continuity, the Bakken Pipeline will be referred to as the Dakota Access Pipeline within this report.]

July 25, 2016:

“The Army Corps of Engineers issued permits authorizing the construction of segments of the pipeline in US waters, one of which is under Lake Oahe. The lake is a reservoir behind the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River; it is approx. ½ mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

 

Although the pipeline will not cross Standing Rock’s land, the tribe claims that the pipeline’s route passes through the tribe’s ancestral lands and other areas of great cultural and spiritual significance. To the Standing Rock, the Missouri River and Lake Oahe are sacred. . . and legally owned by the tribe.

 

The tribe’s reservation is located in a small section of North and South Dakota, but the original boundaries as defined in the 1851 & 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties were much larger. After the treaties, however, the Black Hills were seized by the US and a series of statutes were passed that further parceled the land. In 1980, however, the Supreme Court held that the lands had been illegally seized from the tribe and ordered the payment of just compensation. The Sioux refused to accept the money, though, because they did not want to relinquish their claim to the land.” [Source]

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“This proposed pipeline, it’s going to go right over the 1851 treaty land. That’s what we’re talking about being native domain land. And then of course the powers that be shortened the 1851 treaty down to the 1868 treaty and then said, ‘Here’s what the native people have on what is presently Standing Rock.’ But we’re going by the 1851 treaty land.” [Source]

Construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline began May 24, 2016 (“Union workers have started clearing the path for the North Dakota portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.”) This  “direct shot” pipeline (frack oil to gulf) similar to the Keystone XL (tar sands to gulf) was proposed by Dakota Access, LLC, a subsidiary of the Dallas, Texas corporation Energy Transfer Partners.  The pipeline commences in the Dakota Bakken and ends in Patoka, Illinois (1, 168 miles – 358 in North Dakota through seven counties, including Mountrail, Williams, McKenzie, Dunn, Mercer, Morton and Emmons at a cost of 3.8-4.8 billion.)

In October of 2014 it was announced that Phillips 66 would own a 25 percent stake in the Dakota Access Pipeline. There is slight irony in the fact Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns shares in Phillips 66. Buffett’s Berkshire first started buying Phillips 66 stock in 2012, increasing its holdings to 14% in February of 2016. Berkshire continues to increase its holding in Phillips 66 from February 2016 to present with its eye on the expansion of oil refineries. Berkshire’s interest in the Dakota Access project (via its 15% holdings in Phillips 66) is insignificant in comparison to the power and profits wielded by BNSF combined with future profits via the rapid expansion of refineries. However, one thing  is clear: Warren Buffett never loses.

In August of 2016 it was announced that Sunoco Logistics Partners would be assisting in the financing of the pipeline while Enbridge Energy Partners and Marathon Petroleum Corp. plan to acquire a portion of the pipeline in a $2 billion deal”. [Source]

We must also keep in mind that Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) and Tribes are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish (Arikara)( MHA) are not representative of the remaining treaty tribes. There are over 500 treaty tribes recognized by the US Federal Government. White treachery continues to divide. As an example, MHA sold out to frack oil, while the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has asked tribes to ban fracking located near water sources. [“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Council on Feb. 1, 2011 passed a motion to prohibit hydro fracturing on the Standing Rock Sioux Nation:”THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the (Tribal Nation) prohibits in perpetuity any hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or any other process that is toxic on lands adjoining the (name of aquifer) aquifer or its tributaries, or flowing water that has the potential to channel to the (name of aquifer) aquifer and water resources, lakes, underground springs, and wetlands where tribal citizens reside on or near the (Tribal Nation).”]

“We have learned from the land-grab activities that occurred in the early days of the Bakken oil boom on the Fort Berthold Reservation, where hundreds of millions of dollars were lost due to unethical practices by groups/corporations/companies claiming to streamline the negotiating process for the leasing agreements of tribal member allotees. Many members were scammed into lease agreements, only to receive a fraction of the profits that were to be yielded from their lands. We do not wish to see this happen to our members here on Standing Rock.” — [Standing Rock Nation’s Policy Statement on Oil and Fracking, August 12, 2014][Source]

In 2014, lessors obtained the rights to 200,000 acres in the Standing Rock Sioux Nation reservation and surrounding county areas for oil and gas exploration in. (Teton Times)

Refineries, Nuclear and Rail

While all eyes focus on Dakota Access, it is critical to observe what is not being brought to the public’s attention. As another pipeline inches toward completion, in the background simultaneously, refineries are set to expand in the Bakken (at minimum five to start), while future plans to construct small modular nuclear reactors in the Bakken to power shale oil steam extraction are not spoken of. Further, stalling on pipelines which would reduce transport costs, secures rail profits for BNSF. [“As an oil refining company, Phillips 66 is in the one aspect of the oil industry that can benefit from falling oil prices. The drop in prices means that Phillips can buy the crude it refines more cheaply. And it profits from the fact that the price of gas hasn’t fallen as much as the price of oil has. Phillips’ refining profits actually rose last year to $2.6 billion from $1.6 billion in 2014. Source: Warren Buffett’s $1 billion bet on oil, February 5, 2016]

“This project will take trucks off the road and provide a safe alternative to crude by rail.” Commissioner Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak said. — PSC issues permit for Dakota Access Pipeline, January 20, 2016

 

The line, which can carry 470,000 barrels a day, is projected to be in service in the fourth quarter. It gives North Dakota drillers, who have relied in part on pricier rail shipments, access to U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest markets.” — Woman Who Killed Keystone XL Battling New Pipeline Project (Bloomberg, August 31, 2016) [Emphasis added]

 

The project will also address transportation strains in the Upper Midwest created by the dramatic increase in crude oil production in North Dakota. A lack of rail cars to move grain out of South Dakota has magnified the problem. Tariffs on grain railcars have increased from $50 to nearly $1,400 per car. These cost increases can carve up to $1.00 from every bushel of corn shipped. The Bakken Pipeline will help ease transportation shortages for agriculture and other industries. Energy Transfer Website [Emphasis added]

The purpose of the Dakota Access pipeline is to increase production of both the tar sands oil and the Bakken frack oil. BNSF trains will take the “frackenstein” mix to the highest bidder. Grain cannot complete in what is essentially a BNSF monopoly. One must note that there is no pipeline used exclusively for the caustic Bakken frack oil. The oil that causes bomb train tankers to blow up into fiery infernos resembling hell on Earth.

“They are holding the line against construction of a pipeline that would carry highly flammable, fracked oil from the Bakken oil fields in that state to Illinois. The pipeline would go under the Missouri River…” [Emphasis added] [Source]

Why is it that we can demonize the transportation of these dirty resources via a singular pipeline,  while ignoring the harmful effects of the extraction upon those most vulnerable? Understanding that this constitutes what is perhaps unprecedented ecocide while furthering the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples, while at the same time knowing full well that industry is banking on massive increases of the production of fracking oil in the coming decades.

The answer is as simple as Jane Kleeb’s response: “We welcome pipeline infrastructure (not in the Sandhills or that crosses the Aquifer) to ensure ND and MT oil is getting to U.S. markets.” [Source: Bakken Oil Business Magazine, Nov/Dec 2012, Jan 2013 issue] Kleeb’s honesty (albeit within a private communication) is refreshing in comparison to her many alliances. The non-profit industrial complex wants the oil getting to U.S. markets. After all, the privilege of those who comprise the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) – absolutely depend on it. Why people insist on believing anything otherwise is the result of the best marketing and social engineering that money can buy. Who and what the Bakken frack oil destroys – is of no interest.

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The poignant reality is this: if Americans (including some Indigenous leaders) weren’t beguiled and ultimately “derailed” by the elite’s cherry-picked representatives (Mckibben et. al. ) who continually campaigned to instill the gross misconception that the state (focusing on U.S. president Barack Obama) had empathy for Indigenous struggles and ecological devastation, citizens and indigenous peoples may have had a chance to stop the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines while they were still on the drawing board. Of course hindsight is 20/20.

Perhaps the most glaring elephant in the room that escapes all discussion, is the fact that for the continuation of the voracious western consumptive lifestyle, the oil must come from somewhere. It isn’t the Indigenous peoples who are reaping the rewards. Rather, like those in the Congo who mine the coltan for our technology, they are the ones paying the price, with their lives. The race by liberals to attach themselves to the Dakota Access resistance as a means of directing the movement in less confrontational ways (as has always been the case) tells us to focus on environmental impacts and climate change (without ever looking in the mirror), while the real issue is this: full out, continued genocide of Indigenous peoples with the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation being ground zero for this experiment being carried out with no legitimate opposition whatsoever from the “progressive left”.

“Right now the Rosebud reservation, the Cheyenne River reservation, the Pine Ridge reservation and my Standing Rock reservation represent five of the 10 poorest places or counties in the United States, according to the 2010 Census. Our state of being is not our fault. We did not cause this. United States lawmakers and their policies caused this. Why?? Greed – and now again, even what little we have left is under attack.” Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman

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Foundation funding ensures the NPIC does not oppose the Bakken frack oil boom – the lifeblood of Buffett’s BNSF. Well over 30 million dollars has been funnelled through the Buffett family NoVo foundation into the Tides foundation – a key foundation which doles money out for pipeline campaigns to carefully selected NGOs within the NPIC. Incidentally, NoVo has become the number one financier of the Tides Foundation. [Source]

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One should wisely note the silence that money can buy within the NPIC considering that even the corporate/conservative media such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have published series on the Bakken frack oil boom and its corrupting influence on the social fabric of Indigenous peoples. Consider that the North American opposition to the Keystone XL (an extension of an already existing pipeline that delivered/delivers oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US) campaigned on the possibility of spills of crude in the Nebraska Sandhills. While in reality, beyond possibility, there were at least 1,100 spills in North Dakota’s stretch of the Bakken during 2011. And although fracking has been protested elsewhere, mainly due to the greatest force of today’s western environmentalism — “not in my back yard”, the Bakken, has developed as it has without so much as creasing the nation’s political discussion. [Source]

 “Anne Marguerite Coyle is an eagle biologist, and just before the boom, she tagged eighteen juvenile golden eagles as part of a routine monitoring effort. All are now dead or gone. In one case, a drilling rig landed close to one of the eagles’ nesting sites, so when that bird disappeared, she asked people nearby what had happened. “Oh, somebody shot that one,” they said. Gunplay, the roads, the rigs, the noise, the trucks, the off-duty oil workers on ATVs, the general disregard for anything living that is the consequence of industrializing a once-wild landscape — these make it impossible to pinpoint oil’s role in the eagles’ fate. But if they weren’t killed by oil, they were likely killed by the things oil brings with it.” ­ — The price of North Dakota’s fracking boom, Harpers, March 2013

 

“This is the last of what my people have. Our people have survived so many things in history. The methamphetamine use, the heroin use, is just another epidemic like smallpox and boarding schools. And the last of the last are going to have to survive. And I want to be in the front lines because that was my vow — to protect my people.” — Tribal police Sgt. Dawn White, Dark Side of the Boom, September 28, 2014

 

“But there is a dark side to the multibillion-dollar boom in the oil fields, which stretch across western North Dakota into Montana and part of Canada. The arrival of highly paid oil workers living in sprawling “man camps” with limited spending opportunities has led to a crime wave — including murders, aggravated assaults, rapes, human trafficking and robberies — fueled by a huge market for illegal drugs, primarily heroin and methamphetamine.” — Dark Side of the Boom, September 28, 2014

Human Trafficking

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A Shared Hope International’s billboards,in the Bakken region put up to raise awareness about child sex trafficking. [Source]

Lost on most Americans is the fact the human trafficking now rampant in North Dakota, is yet another violation by the white man of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty with the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho. Article XI 4th condition: “They will never capture, or carry off from the settlements, white women or children.”

From the human trafficking report “Sex for sale in the Bakken:

From a distant site, supply negotiates with demand.
“I have a little girl.”
“How old is she? Do you have a place to host?”
“13 and yes I have a place to host.”
“Can I hook up with her tomorrow when I get off work?”
“Sure, got cash?”
Lakey says he doesn’t want to use a condom.
“That’s fine.”
And they talk in text shorthand, buyer and seller, about younger girls.
“What age is ur youngest you have?”
“I have younger, but they’re not as experienced as my 13-year-old. I got a 10-year-old in training but I don’t think she’s quite ready.”
Lakey asks to see a photo, and he discusses paying $5,000 for the 10-year-old girl.
For “it,” he says. For owning “it.”
He asks how the seller recruits girls to work for him. How do you keep “the product” from running? He agrees to pay $250 for sex with the 13-year-old.

To add insult to injury, only in the most patriarchal of societies, would the exploited, rather than the predator/perpetrator, be prosecuted. While it is reported that this is slowly changing (agencies state they are now more focused on investigating the traffickers rather than focusing on the continued practise of sting operations targeting and arresting women), in what can only be described as a cesspool, the trafficking, violence and exploitation of women and minors is only going to worsen and accelerate.

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“They treat Mother Earth like they treat women. They think they can own us, buy us, sell us, trade us, rent us, poison us, rape us, destroy us, use us as entertainment and kill us. I’m happy to see that we are talking about the level of violence that is occurring against Mother Earth because it equates to us. What happens to her happens to us.” — Lisa Brunner, White Earth Ojibwe, Program Specialist for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center [Source] [From the conference entitled, “Protect the Women and Families from the KXL [Keystone Pipeline system] Violence! Say no to Man Camps in Oceti Sakowin Territory!”]

As the Dakota Access gains media attention we witness the very NGOs and NGO “leaders” who have until only recently turned a blind eye to the Indigenous resistance, beginning to latch on like the leeches they are. We’ve touched briefly upon the discourse from increasing numbers of refineries, and Bakken frack oil which ensures continued Indigenous genocide, anomie/social collapse, meth addiction, alcohol abuse, lateral violence, sex trafficking, suicide, poisoned water and soil… the list is long and incomplete.

Willful blindness to the Bakken frack oil also ensures and protects foundation money, BNSF profits, as well as western lifestyle and privilege to 21st century anthropocentrists who brand themselves as “activists”. The ideologies, cultures and aspirations between these two sets of people – North American anthropocentrists (largely white) and North American Indians – could not be more different.

The highly financed NPIC (to the tune of trillions) has quietly begun the necessary task of co-opting a meaningful and legitimate movement. That being the “indigenous led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline.” This attempt for full co-optation must be considered a given for all legitimate resistance movements for the following reasons:

1) when there is an interest from public and media (which can then provide a means to further brand recognition and feign credibility/legitimacy by the NGO attaching itself to a particular uprising)

2) when a grass roots movement has the potential  to harm or change current power structures, such as economic growth, and/or threaten future decisions that have already been decided upon by elites

Enter #NODAPL

One would be hard pressed to find on any website such extensive NVDA (non-violent direct action) dogma as found on the #NoDAPL Solidarity website (created on August 29, 2016 by Nick Katkevich, noted liberal strategist who is the co-creator of the group FANG – Fighting Against Natural Gas). Especially in light of this website being meant to be interpreted as representative of Indigenous resistance. Yet, Indigenous peoples do not espouse NVDA as an ideology – this is the ideology belonging to and peddled by the NPIC. The fact is, Indigenous peoples retain a deep-rooted (and enviable) warrior ideology – deeply ingrained in the Indigenous culture. This is what the NPIC seeks to destroy. Because of the arrogance and paternalism of those within the NPIC, they even believe they will be successful in doing so. This site is sponsored by Rising Tides North America (RTNA), which can be identified under the “Friends and Allies” (North America) section on the 350.org website. Many view RTNA as a sister org. to Rainforest Action Network, with a more radical veneer, the common link being Scott Parkin: “Scott Parkin is a climate organizer working with Rainforest Action Network, Rising Tide North America and the Ruckus Society.” (see the multitude of Ruckus documents/links on screenshot below). [Source]

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Further irony arises when one takes note of the Martin Luther King quote on the “indigenous led resistance” website (see screenshot above). Ask yourself why Indigenous resistance would choose to quote MLK (a long-time favourite co-opted and sanitized icon of the NPIC), rather than a quote from their own warriors.

Leave it to white “leftists” to retain their unwavering belief they have the right and superior knowledge to manage/shape how Indigenous struggles should be led. This is the same “left” (funded by the establishment) that has failed at virtually everything except for the main task assigned by the elites they kowtow to: keeping current power structures intact.

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And yet…

Although the white left would never believe it to be true, the Indigenous Peoples have a wisdom and knowledge the Euro-Americans lack altogether. They are not part of our depraved society. So why would wise people succumb to the whims of the NPIC? There is perhaps a very good reason why the tribes standing with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are not opposed to the white left saturation who will never fail to rush in front for the cameras: to place them in front to stop the bullets from being fired (“Don’t Shoot”). Indigenous peoples have been subjected to horrendous racism since the first European colonizers arrived, which continues to this day. The reality being white activists have no fear of being shot and killed by police regardless of their actions, whereby the same actions are opportunities for the state to kill natives, blacks and minorities.

For media sensation and photographs that will travel the globe, those at the helm of the NPIC ensure that publicly, Indigenous Peoples most always appear in the forefront – all while strategizing behind closed doors to take leadership. When they cannot do so, they vacate the movement, work to marginalize and if possible bury, the legitimate work they were unable to take over. The 2010 People’s Agreement (Cochabamba, Bolivia), led by Indigenous peoples, is an excellent example of just this. The white man has proven incapable of involvement if he is not soon in charge. He has proven himself incapable of following, learning, listening… standing behind. Keeping his mouth closed. The ugly reality is that these are racist, fascist organizations, only there to protect current power structures and count bodies. Social media metrics are far more important than disposable people.

“When the Enviros show up, their literature and banner is strung up against the wall. We are pushed into our place. Most have had a bad taste from wasicu hypocrisy.”  — Harold One Feather

Those at the helm of the NGOs that comprise the NPIC will not be joining land defenders that are willing to die to protect their land, people, culture and ancestry. For these cowards, the brand is too valuable, the price too high. The warrior culture too strong (unruly savages!) to contain. Instead they will throw a few crumbs and send their well-intentioned youth followers as the sacrificial lambs to test the waters. The Indigenous that live within the Bakken are the only credible organizers in opposition to the frack oil developments. It is an understood but unspoken reality that within this resistance, people are going to die.

“Much of the camp’s rhetoric is of the “Non-violent Direct Action” type. Lock your arm to this piece of deconstruction equipment and take a picture with a banner for Facebook. But the Warrior Culture that is so rich in Lakota memory seems to counter a lot of the liberal, non-violent, NGO types. Comrades saw what happened in Iowa, heard about the $1,000,000 in damage and got inspired. I wouldn’t say that it was publicly celebrated because the camp’s tactic of “Non-violence” is the image they want to perpetuate. Like I said, it is a tactic… not everyone thinks that is what we need to dogmatically stick to. It is one thing to use Non-Violence as a rhetorical device in corporate media to spread your inspirational actions but it is another thing to preach it as your dogma in your private circles and use it to stop material damage to the infrastructure of ecocide. I see the former being invoked much greater than the latter.” — A CONVERSATION ON THE SACRED STONE CAMP, Sept 4, 2016

One may also wonder about the Pledge of Resistance being “organized” by the CREDO corporation: “Many thanks to our friends at CREDO who organized the Pledge of Resistance against Keystone XL—the Bakken Pipeline pledge borrows liberally from their work.” Bold Iowa, Source]

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Above poster from the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, 2013

All eyes ON one (single) pipeline.

All eyes OFF the acceleration of genocide of Indigenous peoples in the Bakken.

All eyes OFF Bakken fracking oil.

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Hero Worship in Death Cult

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Sacred beliefs appropriated for the creation of white savior celebrity: Several of our Lakota and Dakota relatives have had visions and dreams. They have been visited in a spiritual sense and have been told that there is a black poisonous snake trying to come among us. Our relatives have said this. [Source] Image: Bold Nebraska and director Jane Kleeb are featured on the cover of the July/August 2015 issue of Omaha Magazine. Photo by: Bill Sitzmann. Snake trainer: Andy Reeves with a Black Mexican Kingsnake

Bloomberg, August 31, 2016,  Woman Who Killed Keystone XL Battling New Pipeline Project:

“One of the most prominent voices among opponents of Keystone XL is now taking on the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has faced hurdles in North Dakota and Iowa. After organizing grassroots efforts against TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL through Bold Nebraska, an activist group, Jane Fleming Kleeb has turned her attention to Energy Transfer Partners LP’s project. Bold Nebraska has since evolved into Bold Alliance, a group led by Kleeb, that focuses on corporations “threatening land and water,” she said in a telephone interview…

The protests thus far are unlikely to have meaningful impact on the timeline of construction, said Ethan Bellamy, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Denver. The worst-case scenario “would be getting a pipeline that is 99.9 percent complete, only to have the all important last 1,000 meters stopped because of a legal fight,” he said.

Jane Kleeb, recently elected as Nebraska’s Dem Party Chair, is founder and CEO of Bold Nebraska (founded in 2010) with an annual salary from her organization of US$100,000.00. In 2016 Kleeb announced the formation of an umbrella group, Bold Alliance, which would include chapters in three other states to start. Kleeb now refers to herself as Bold Nebraska director and Bold Alliance president.

Seed money for Kleeb’s organization was provided by the late Richard Holland. [Source]

Holland, “the Nebraska advertising executive who helped link up one of the great partnerships in business history, the one between Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett and his deputy, Charles Munger.”

“As one of Buffett’s earliest investors, Holland reaped gains that made him and his wife, Mary, among Omaha’s wealthiest people and most generous philanthropists. While their net worth wasn’t public, their private charitable foundation reported assets of $158.8 million in 2014. — Richard Holland, Who Paired Buffett With Munger, Dies at 95, August 11, 2016

 

“He was a wonderful friend and partner for 60 years and an outstanding citizen both in respect to local and national activities.” — Warren Buffett [Source]

Bakken Oil Business Magazine, Nov/Dec 2012, Jan 2013 issue:

BNSF has been hauling Bakken crude out of the Williston Basin area for over five years. ‘In that time, we have seen the volume increase nearly 7,000 percent, from 1.3 million barrels in 2008 to 88.9 million in 2012, said Dave Garin, BNSF group Vice President of Industrial Products….

 

I received the following response from Jane Kleeb after contacting her about Bold Nebraska’s oppositional stance to the KXL pipeline’s new suggested route through Nebraska: ‘We are waiting for all the conservative politicians who say they care about property rights and family farmers and ranchers to actually give a damn and stand up against this pipeline. We welcome pipeline infrastructure (not in the Sandhills or that crosses the Aquifer) to ensure ND and MT oil is getting to U.S. markets.”

 

The leg from Cushing, OK to the Gulf Coast refineries has already been approved by the states through which it is being laid, as it did not require presidential approval and does not run through Nebraska. On March 12, 2012, President Obama personally announced his approval of “fast tracking” the southern leg of the KXL pipeline to relieve pressure on the WTI crude oil inventories for shipment to the Gulf Coast. Construction has started and is expected to be completed sometime in late 2013….

 

The main contributor to Bold Nebraska is Dick Holland, who has financially supported this progressive political movement in its opposition to the KXL pipeline. Bold Nebraska’s NIMBY approach will only cause further delays in completing the KXL.

Mr. Holland is a good friend of Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and one of the world’s most successful investors. Any delay in the process by the U.S. State Department in recommending approval for the completion of the full route of the KXL by the President of the United States, will solely benefit the BNSF.

Bold Nebraska is 501(c)4 social welfare non-profit, which makes it exempt from federal income tax. It is not required to disclose investors, nor are donations to the organization tax deductible. [“If you are a donor looking to influence election but do not want to reveal your identity, the 501(c)(4) is an attractive option through which to send your cash.” Source] Bold Nebraska is an affiliate of ProgressNow (another 501(c)(4) group). Founding board members include Wes Boyd, founder of MoveOn.org (Avaaz co-founder) and Rob McKay, chairman of the board of the Democracy Alliance ). It has received funding from the Tides Foundation, the Tides Advocacy Fund (yet another 501(c)4 group), New Venture Fund and Cloud Mountain Foundation.

Kleeb, a former MTV correspondent is also the former director of Change That Works Nebraska and former executive director of Young Democrats of America. Joining liberals before her, the April, 2013 Rolling Stone magazine (a mainstream publication assigned with the task of manufacturing celebrities as chosen by elite foundations) featured Kleeb under the heading: The Fossil Fuel Resistance: Meet the New Green Heroes, Jane Kleeb: The Keystone Killer.

Kleeb’s spouse, Scott Kleeb is the former CEO and President of Energy Pioneer Solutions. It is reported that Scott Kleeb owned 29 percent of Energy Pioneer Solutions, as did Jane Kleeb.

On May 12, 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that “A $2 million commitment arranged by the nonprofit Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 went to a for-profit company part-owned by friends of the Clintons”.  Prior to this, in 2006 Scott Kleeb lost bids to represent Nebraska in congress. In 2008 he was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Nebraska but was defeated.

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The Real Black Snake: The Bakken Frack Oil

The Fort Berthold reservation “has  only six field officers responsible for monitoring more than 1,300 oil wells scattered across more than 1,500 square miles of reservation. Those wells pump out more than 386,000 barrels of oil every day, accounting for a third of all oil produced in North Dakota – the nation’s No. 2 oil producer.” — Tribal Environmental Director: ‘We Are Not Equipped’ for N.D. Oil Boom, May 16, 2015

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An oil tanker truck and tanker train cars on the reservation. Wells there are pumping about 386,000 barrels of oil a day, a third of North Dakota’s output. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times, 12, 29, 2014 [In North Dakota, a Tale of Oil, Corruption and Death Where Oil, Corruption and Bodies Surface.]

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The site for a planned oil refinery on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Its future is being newly debated with the change in tribal government. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times, 12, 29, 2014 [In North Dakota, a Tale of Oil, Corruption and Death Where Oil, Corruption and Bodies Surface.]

“In one case, the surface water intake 14 feet below surface carried BTEX compounds into the Water Treatment Plant resulting in a Treatment Plant shutdown. Benzene was above the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Standard Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). The oil appears to readily disperse as observed during both test conditions and these incidents….Rapid dispersion in flowing water is likely to occur under turbulent conditions.” — Bakken Shale Crude Oil Spill Evaluation Pilot Study, April, 2015

The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation sets a standard on drilling locations. The state and society (as silence must be interpreted as acquiescence) has sacrificed the people of Fort Berthold to live as lab rats (another callous western invention) to determine the full effects of breathing and drinking frack poisons. This shares similarities to a long list of depraved experiments conducted by the US government on non-anglos such as the Tuskegee Experiment. This particular experiment was, a study carried out between 1932-1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service which deliberately allowed the natural progression of untreated syphilis in African-American men under the guise of receiving free health care from the United States government. [Source] One must also be mindful of the fact that in siege warfare, routing an enemy in a stronghold is to poison his water, then he will surrender without a fight. Further, frack poisons will make it to the surface. BNSF is the connection between this hidden devastation.

“The mineral leases offered by the oil industry brought sudden wealth to some of the 14,000 members of MHA Nation. Since fracking took off in 2008, the tribes have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in oil money, but most of the wealth flowed to those who owned property with oil under it. Life for many of the rest remains bleak. — Tribal Environmental Director: ‘We Are Not Equipped’ for N.D. Oil Boom, May 16, 2015

The Dakota Access will mean increased production in both the Bakken frack poison fields and the Alberta tar sands. Many within mainstream activism have been calling Dakota Access the KXL end run, built in tiny pieces. One must consider if this could be classified as a competition as to which nation can sustain oil overproduction: Russia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and China control the Middle East oil.

When the STOP KXL campaign was launched onto the public in February of 2010 – all eyes that should have been on fracking the Bakken shale and the plans for Buffett’s rail dynasty that would transport it (via BNSF) were instead glued to a phony Keystone XL campaign that not only stopped nothing, but annihilated an entire social structure of Fort Berthold Indigenous Peoples along with their health and poisoned Earth’s ecosystems, while at the same time making Buffett/BNSF billions.

Ensuring the Invisible Remains Invisible

The reframing of the Bakken Pipeline as the Dakota Access by the NPIC now underway (via the continued repetition of the chosen later) must be examined  as a carefully amended campaign strategy. This minor amendment, that few would take note of strategically, reframes the focus in one simple stroke, by making what could (and should) be the focus of environmentalists and social justice activists – the Bakken itself – instantly invisible. When the name Bakken is removed from the equation (campaign) – so are all references to the devastation happening in the Bakken to the Indigenous peoples and all life. When Dakota Access becomes #NoDAPL – an uprising is effectively changed into a logo, then channeled into a social metrics campaign where only numbers count. Within the NPIC, framing and language are everything.

bakken-sign1stop-bakken-pipeline

Above: The original NGO slogan.

ecowatch

Above: Following what becomes an Indigenous rights story in national media “Stop the Bakken Pipeline” becomes “Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline with the emphasis on the hashtag #NoDAPL.

iowa-bakken

The above poster/meme is one of the more honest ones.  In summary, it’s fine for Indigenous peoples to live and breathe the devastation arising from the Bakken oil fields – but do not dare bring such  devastation and poison to the white man’s doorstep. Collectively, Euro-Americans accept that the Indigenous peoples must pay for the white man’s  privilege and western lifestyle – however high the price.

The Sacagawea Pipeline

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There is a lesser known pipeline being resisted that has not captured the attention of the NPIC. The Sacagawea Pipeline, under construction, is located in Fort Berthold. Lake Sakakawea is the drinking water source for many western North Dakota cities, including those who live on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Lake Sakakawea covers approximately 243,000 acres of water, 125,000 acres of land and 1,500 miles of shoreline.

The Sacagawea Pipeline Company is developing the 91 mile Sacagawea pipeline to deliver crude from points in McKenzie and Dunn Counties south of the river to points north of Lake Sacagawea. Sacagawea Pipeline Company is a joint venture between Paradigm Energy Partners, *Phillips 66 Partners, and Grey Wolf Midstream.” Grey Wolf Midstream is an affiliate of Missouri River Resources, a Three Affiliated Tribes chartered energy company in North Dakota. The Three Affiliated Tribes are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish (Arikara) (MHA). [*Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway now owns 14% of Phillips 66 shares, making it Bershire’s sixth largest holding. Source: Warren Buffett’s $1 billion bet on oil, February 5, 2016]

This pipeline, which is reported as nearly complete, is now under investigation by federal pipeline regulators “after former contractors said the pipeline was installed under the lake without being properly inspected. The current contractor maintains the pipeline was inspected and the allegations are false claims being made by workers who were fired.” [Source]

The Sacagawea Pipeline is pictured under construction on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Mountrail County, N.D., near Lake Sakakawea. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

The Sacagawea Pipeline is pictured under construction on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Mountrail County, N.D., near Lake Sakakawea. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

One may question why there is growing resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline yet apparently none against this one: “The Laborers Union, which supports the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed by union contractors, questioned last week why pipeline opponents are so vocal about that project but not speaking out about the Sacagawea Pipeline.” [Source]

It’s fair question. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation sought an injunction based on the claim that the project will damage sites of cultural and historical significance. Contamination of Lake Sakakawea would leave those most vulnerable with no fresh water source.

“Our members find it hard to understand why protesters have targeted a pipeline that’s being built the right way, but we don’t hear a word about the pipeline just installed under Lake Sakakawea that workers say wasn’t properly inspected.” — Kevin Pranis, a spokesman for the Laborers International Union of North America in North Dakota [Source]

What is likely in the case of the late protests against the Sacagawea pipeline is the growing tribal knowledge and concern over the frack oil, as the process pollutes freshwater sources with hazardous chemicals, oil and hydrocarbons, radioactive radon, and biocides – with no process or technique for treating this contaminated water. What is absolute is that it is those who own the media (not coincidentally the same elites that own the non-profit industrial complex) that decide on who and what the media spotlight will shine upon. Native land defenders are essentially ignored, unless it furthers elite interests.

 [Document: Garrison Project – Lake Sakakawea, Oil and Gas Management Plan, North Dakota, 2013]

The Temporary Victory

The irony is that it was none other than Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska who snowballed a campaign against the Dakota Access by establishing a media presence. This is not to say there was no resistance prior to the “arrival” of Kleeb, rather, it is her privilege (and financiers) that allows her to use the media to her advantage while the undercurrent of deep-rooted racism in America ensures little light is shone upon those who are exploited the most. Another fair question is why Bold, 350, Greenpeace, etc. aren’t shining a spotlight on the Sacagawea pipeline. The ugly truth is that it is of no financial or political interest to them.

One could question why Kleeb waited so long to establish media presence with Energy Transfer Partners having already obtained 100 percent of the easements while 22% of the pipeline has “already been welded and lowered into trenches, and three-fourths of the route has been cleared”. [Source]

Consider that although Kleeb was provided a leadership role in the resistance, via the media, she is not a presence at the camp. It is safe to assume that such media presence could secure lucrative funding. After all, that’s the primary driving force amongst NGOs in the NPIC, who share many similarities to ambulance chasing. The definition of ambulance chasing is “a professional slur which refers to a lawyer soliciting for clients at a disaster site”. Employed by the media over time, it later became a derogatory term for direct advertising. This is an accurate description of elite financed NGOs who employ the same tactics. Kleeb appropriates sacred beliefs of the Indigenous by sporting a captive black snake on her arm for personal/celebrity gain, yet one would be hard-pressed to find Kleeb speaking to the plight of those who reside in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation whose prospects for future generations are grim at best due to the frack oil boom. The real black snake is the fracking – not the pipeline infrastructure – but the toxic fracked crude it transports.

The answer to the question as to why Kleeb waited so long to establish media presence becomes more clear on September 9, 2016: “The Obama Administration Temporarily Blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline | The surprise move came after a federal judge declined to stop the 1,100-mile fossil fuel project’s construction.” Considering the newly elected Nebraska Democratic Party leader Jabe Kleeb, and her partner Scott Kleeb’s very close ties to the democrat party, and her organization’s seed money coming from Warren Buffett’s (Obama’s personal confidant and financial advisor) long-time associate Richard Holland, one could safely theorize that the decision to nix this pipeline was already determined by the elites and its stoppage will be dictated by the state at their behest. Hence, efforts to stop/delay this pipeline (while oil price remains at an all time low amidst a glut) were perhaps no more than theatre to Kleeb and those that started latching on at the late hour. A ruse reminiscent of Keystone XL,  where some are going to win and some are going to lose, but it will be business as usual regardless. With elections around the corner, consider media also threw a bone to accompany the “surprise” announcement:

“Regardless, Dakota Access looks like a tentative success for Native protestors and the climate activists who supported them. It also hints at how actively the current Democratic administration will involve itself in environmental issues, especially when pushed by the climate movement.” [Emphasis added]

In others words, if you weren’t going to vote for Clinton, you should now.

The “surprise” announcement also incidentally honoured 350.org’s campaign that “President Obama could step in any time and say “no” to this whole thing, like he did for Keystone XL.”  In what appears to be a very orchestrated “ending”, in front of the U.S. elections, it’s important to recall that 350.org has access to both Obama and the White House (although one can be certain this is not the only NGO with such access). The reality is, the state does not care about Indigenous people – in America or the world at large, regardless of what the media and NGO circus would have you believe. Indigenous history to present day actions and continued genocide – confirms this to be true without doubt.

The Literal End

“The demons shoot steel lances into our Sacred Grandmother Earth, injecting poisons and explosives, saying leaving a concrete spear will prevent cross contamination between aquifers, including the likely scenario of wellhead abandonment.” – Harold One Feather

From 1947 to 2010, more than 1 million wells were fracked in the Bakken. Industry envisions “an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 wells to frack the Bakken Formation and adjacent stores of oil and gas in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota – up from the area’s current boom of 8,000, one-eighth of which are located on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation.” (2014)

google-keystone-screenshot

Keystone XL via Google: located by US HWY 12, west of Standing Rock. Note the new massive grain elevators by the new rail line for a future oil transloading facility.

That the rightful caretakers/defenders of the land which today constitutes the whole of United States, represent the poorest group of people in the United States (five of the top ten poorest places being reservations located in South and North Dakota) – while simultaneously being subjected to the effects of environmental, cultural and social devastation brought on by a billion dollar industry composed of hundreds of thousands of fracking wells (there are 300,000 hydraulically fractured wells in South Dakota alone) – is an abomination beyond compare.

Poverty and health problems are rampant. Average life expectancy is below 60.” — Tribal Environmental Director: ‘We Are Not Equipped’ for N.D. Oil Boom, May 16, 2015

While it is true that tribes such as MHA have partnered with industry, dire poverty, the loss of culture due to the relentless pressure of Anglo assimilation (as well as the necessary inclusion of western values) and social breakdown all contribute to a deep desperation for a better life. No one is in a position to judge the responsive behavior of the native to their collective subjugation.

Compare such dire poverty with those  suffering firsthand the effects of fracking oil to the obscene profits as outlined above, and with those of Warren Buffett: “Annual revenue at the railroad has risen 57 percent, and earnings more than doubled to $3.8 billion since Warren Buffett bought it [BNSF] … As Forbes reported last year: His company, Berkshire Hathaway, purchased Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $34 billion four years ago. FORBES estimates its value has doubled since then. Part of the reason: hauling oil out of the Bakken formation of North Dakota.”(Warren Buffett and the Keystone Decision, November 9, 2015[Emphasis added]

A typical Bakken well is expected to continue producing oil for approx. 45 years. After this time, the well is expected to stop producing oil. Over this “life” cycle, this typical well is expected to yield approx. US $23 million in profit to the producer. In July of 2014 oil production in North Dakota hit a record of 1 million barrels of oil per day – up from less than 200,000 barrels of oil per day in 2007. [Source]

Industry has already drilled several thousand wells in the Bakken and expects 20 to 40 more years of drilling in the region. Industry estimates the Bakken region may see 40,000 to 100,000 more wells drilled in the future. Approx. six years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Bakken region may contain 3 billion-4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil. However, with the development of the Three Forks formation, the USGS expects this amount to nearly double. Many in the industry believe these aforementioned estimates are far too low suggesting that up to 96 billion barrels of oil could in due time be pumped out of the Bakken with even higher yields possible as technology improves. [Source]

Bottom line – Indigenous peoples cannot and will not survive this. This is genocide.

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

Further reading:


Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part II

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part III | Beholden to Buffett

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part 1V | Buffett Acquires the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

 

 

 

 

A CONVERSATION ON THE SACRED STONE CAMP

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September 2016

 

dapl-photo

 

A NightFall Editor: First off, can you tell us a little bit about the Dakota Access Pipeline?

Anonymous Participant: The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), is owned by a Houston, Texas based corporation called Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. which created the subsidiary Dakota Access LLC that is building the pipeline. The DAPL, also known as the Bakken Pipeline, is proposed to transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day (which is fracked and highly volatile) from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The current route of the DAPL will cross over the Ogallala Aquifer (one of the largest aquifers in the world) and under the Missouri River twice (the longest river in the United States). Dakota Access has systematically failed to consult with tribes and conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In early August, Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge announced that, along with Marathon Petroleum, it will make a significant investment in the Bakken Pipeline System, including the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. As part of their statement, Enbridge also noted that, “Upon successful closing of the transaction, Enbridge and Marathon Petroleum plan to terminate their transportation services and joint venture agreements for the Sandpiper Pipeline Project [a crude oil pipeline proposed for northern Minnesota.]” We know that this influx of resources from Enbridge will only speed up the construction process.

NF: When and how was the Sacred Stone Camp established?

AP: The camp is at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers. This is important location for the Mandan origin story as the place where they came into the world after the great flood. Where the two waters meet, created I?ya? Wakhá?agapi Othí, spherical Sacred Stones (thus the colonizers’ term ‘Cannon Ball River’), but after the Army Corp of Engineers dredged and flooded the rivers in the 1950s, the flow has changed and Sacred Stones are no longer produced. The camp is surrounded by historic burial grounds, village grounds and Sundance sites that would be directly impacted by this pipeline. The water of the Missouri River is essential to life on the Standing Rock Reservation as well as all of the nations downstream. On April 1st, 2016, a group of over 200 supporters, led by forty riders on horse, under the Lakota name, “Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po”, which translates as “People, Stand with a Strong Heart!” left Fort Yates for a thirty mile trek to the camp located just north of Cannonball, North Dakota. They setup up tipis and a sacred fire. This camp has swelled in the past two months and has had multiple satellite camps across the river on private as well as unceded land on both sides of the river.

NF:  What is daily life like in the camp?

AP: Cooking, cleaning, gathering and chopping firewood and hanging out, especially around the campfire sharing food largely defined camp life. There are always families of all generations populating the camp. You can hear the people playing the drum, giving the camp its own heartbeat. Stories and memories are shared like water. Laughter and life are not uncommon. The reality of the situation is that the people have been resisting the U.S. Empire and continuing genocide for so long that the drones and military surveillance flying above the camp the whole day becomes almost forgettable; like living next to a waterfall, the sound becomes a part of the landscape. We do counter-surveillance, logging the enemies movements. We can see all the pipeline construction equipment on the east side of the river. Everyday there are prayers of resistance offered to the water, earth and ancestors. Without the water of life the camp and we would die.

NF:  How have folks at the camp mobilized to stop the pipeline thus far?  Has it been solely a publicity campaign/symbolic protest thus far or have folks directly interfered with construction of the pipeline?  Are there discussions about tactics at the camp?  Did these change after the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipe- 7 line crossing the river and/or after the arsons affecting DAPL construction sites in Iowa?  As I see it, the camp and the arsons are complementary rather than conflicting tactics for stopping the pipeline; is this generally how people feel at the camp or is there a range of opinions on the matter?

AP: Like with any struggle, the people are not homogenous in thought and tactic. Much of the camp’s rhetoric is of the “Non-violent Direct Action” type. Lock your arm to this piece of deconstruction equipment and take a picture with a banner for Facebook. But the Warrior Culture that is so rich in Lakota memory seems to counter a lot of the liberal, non-violent, NGO types. Comrades saw what happened in Iowa, heard about the $1,000,000 in damage and got inspired. I wouldn’t say that it was publicly celebrated because the camp’s tactic of “Non-violence” is the image they want to perpetuate. Like I said, it is a tactic… not everyone thinks that is what we need to dogmatically stick to. It is one thing to use Non-Violence as a rhetorical device in corporate media to spread your inspirational actions but it is another thing to preach it as your dogma in your private circles and use it to stop material damage to the infrastructure of ecocide. I see the former being invoked much greater than the latter.

NF:  How has the camp’s location on private land affected its character?  I would imagine the fact that it’s on private land gives it some protection against police but also means that if folks at the camp did engage in any illegal activities the land owner would be in a vulnerable position with regards to legal repression.  Is that a concern?  Does the person who owns the land have more say than others about tactics or daily matters at the camp?  What does the decision making process look like?

AP: The question of “private land” is especially difficult to address when we factor in Reservations (or what the U.S. Empire originally called and created them for, Prison of War Camps). The reservations are actually Federal Land. This means that local county and state police cannot enter it. A huge reason why Dakota Access (the company) is not building the pipeline thru the rez but literally a couple hundred meters north of it. When the reservations were created, imperial logic of “borderization” was imposed; meaning, the communal and nomadic lands used for Life were divided by borders: fencing for animal domestication, invisible lines drawn on maps to denote “property” i.e. who owns what, etc. This fundamentally changed people’s relation to land. And this set up the infrastructure/hierarchies for surveillance and policing. The camp exists in a way that resists this imperial imposition. We share food and water without hesitation. We have no leader. We all have knowledge to share and learn from each other. We recognize that the borders we build between ourselves are not “natural” anymore than the flooding in the 1950s by the Army Corps of Engineers is. They do not spread our Wildfire, so we continue to keep the eternal flame lit. Instead of framing things in colonial terms of “legal/ illegal”, it makes more sense at the camp to think in terms of effectiveness; effectiveness of stopping this genocidal project so the people can reclaim their Way of Life.

NF:  How can folks in the Twin Cities support the camp and keep up with what’s going on?

AP: Unicorn Riot has been doing amazing media coverage the entire duration of the camp and you can can thoroughly updated by reading and watching their media at their website “www.unicornriot.ninja” search for tag: DAPL

Visit the camps offical website: sacredstonecamp.org From there you can donate to the legal defense, see what supplies are needed, and more. Lastly, come to the camp! Everybody is welcome.

 

Download the Nightfall September 2016 issue:

https://nightfall.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/236/2016/06/NIGHTFALL-TWO.pdf