Veterans Racing Back to DAPL Front Lines to Protect Native Americans From Militarized Police

(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) — Cannon Ball, North Dakota — United States military veterans are racing back to the front lines in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL), in an effort to shield Native American protestors, known as “[water] protectors,” from a growing militarized police force, after newly-elected President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 24, 2017, green-lighting the project’s completion.

Many are hoping the coalescence of America’s military vets will quell the use of what has been a campaign of physical force against the resistance. Since last fall, law enforcement has made over 700 arrests in the area, and has used rubber bullets, teargas, water cannons, paralyzing sonic weaponry and more, against the mixed coalition of Native Americans and their supporters.

“We’re not coming as fighters, but as protectors,” said 32-year-old Marine Corps veteran Jake Pogue, who helped organize a “vets camp” within the Sacred Stone encampment. Pogue, concerned with how police have been escalating the situation, told The Guardian, “Our role in that situation would be to simply form a barrier between water protectors and the police force and try to take some of that abuse for them.”

Vets Tent at Standing Rock — Photo: The Guardian — by: Sam Levin

Obama halted DAPL in the final weeks of his presidency following fierce opposition, and instructed the Army Corps of Engineers, one of the agencies granting permits on the project, to conduct further environmental review and explore alternate pathways. But Trump has already flushed all that down the drain, and ordered the Army, and the company, to proceed as initially planned.

The move to reactivate construction on DAPL, one of Trump’s first actions as President, has reignited a fiery group of activists unwilling to allow the pipeline to be drilled underneath Lake Oahe on the Missouri River — a major source of drinking water for the tribe, and for millions more downstream.

The Standing Rock Sioux, and its chairman David Archambault II, have repeatedly reiterated to the federal government and Energy Transfer Partners LP, the company building the pipeline, that installing it under the river is an unacceptable risk to the tribe.

Countless millions, including many prominent celebrities, are now backing the Standing Rock Sioux up on that position, voicing their discontent for those behind the project, and their support for the multi-tribal community living on-site around-the-clock. Hollywood actress and star of the HBO movie series Divergent Shailene Woodley, was even arrested and charged with criminal trespassing after live-streaming protests to her large following on Facebook. Woodley awaits her trial date, set for March 31.

Shailene Woodley Arrested For Facebooking About DAPL

Veterans initially joined the fight last December after repeated efforts by the protectors to thwart the pipeline were met with violent opposition and arrests — from militarized police and security goon squads, hired by Energy Transfer Partners. Approximately 1,000 former veterans, many of them combat-seasoned, from all branches of the military, descended on the Sacred Stone Camp from all corners of the country, ready to put their bodies on the line to reinforce Native Americans, already putting their lives at risk for one simple goal: protect the water; for the people of today, and the generations of tomorrow.

When vets first arrived on the scene last year, a solemn ceremony was held where respected soldiers apologized on behalf of the United States to Native Americans as a whole, for inhumane actions toward Native peoples by the federal government. The event sent a profound message to the pipeline company, and those watching around the world.

The ceremony reached a heart-moving climax when former Army Lt. Wesley Clark Jr., son of Gen. Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, knelt before legendary Chief of the Lakota Sioux, Leonard Crow Dog Sr., “[begging] for forgiveness.”

Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain.

Then we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.

Clark explained his engagement at Sacred Stone further to YES! Editor at Large Sarah van Gelder:

I reached out to lawyers, I reached out to politicians, I reached out to members of the press. I got the Young Turks to send Jordan [Chariton] out there in October. I did everything I could to try to help this tribe. Nothing would happen. And so I was like, fuck it man, I have to go out there.

Following Obama’s pause on the project before leaving office, the encampment had largely disbanded. After Trump’s executive order came down, Chairman Archambault urged enraged protectors to stay home, avoid North Dakota’s harsh winter conditions, and let the battle go to the courts. But that plea was not heeded, as hundreds of protectors have been returning to the front lines, ready to wage a non-violent battle against Energy Transfer Partners, on behalf of Mother Earth, yet again. On, February 2, following the arrest of 74 people when a non-sanctioned camp was set up on private land, Archambault declared a “new” protest camp would be established near the original flood-prone site.

“We are prepared to put our bodies between Native elders and a privatized military force,” Elizabeth Williams, an Air Force veteran who arrived at Standing Rock on Friday, told The Guardian. “We’ve stood in the face of fire before. We feel a responsibility to use the skills we have.”

The intense struggle over DAPL last year coalesced the largest and most diverse gathering of Native Americans in over a century as thousands gathered at the Sacred Stone camp to take a stand at Standing Rock. Amazingly, the encampment received little attention in the national media spotlight until Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! captured a protest gone haywire, after Energy Transfer Partners intentionally, and knowingly plowed under sacred burial sites of the Great Sioux Nation, and then sicced attack dogs on, and deployed pepper spray against protectors. Since then, the situation has been on the country’s radar, and it’s the goal of protectors to keep the pressure on.

Another things that has many activists and concerned citizens alike up in arms, is the fact that Trump, as recently as last summer, owned stock in Energy Transfer Partners. Trump’s spokespeople have said the President dumped his shares last summer, but since he refuses to disclose his tax returns and other financial statements, nobody knows for sure if he still maintains ownership in the project.

“This is the right war, right side,” said Dan Luker, a 66-year-old Vietnam vet who traveled to Standing Rock in December. “Finally, it’s the US military coming on to Sioux land to help, for the first time in history, instead of coming on to Sioux land to kill natives.”

Dan Luker — Veteran at Standing Rock — Photo: The Guardian — by: Sam Levin

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Founder of the Sacred Stone camp, said she was glad to have the vets back around. “The people on the ground have no protection. The veterans are going to make sure everything is safe and sound,” she said.

OTHER OIL PIPELINE NEWS ON ENVIRONEWS

North American Oil CEO Admits Tar Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline are Bad Ideas

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – “It never worked before, I seriously doubt if it’ll work now!” These were the words uttered by this mysterious oil and gas CEO of 20 years regarding tar sands in the United States in general. When we asked him about the Kyestone XL…

Chippewa Tribe Kicking Enbridge, and Great Lakes Underwater Tar Sands Pipeline, Off Reservation

(EnviroNews USA Headline News) – Odanah, Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin – On January 4, 2016, the tribal council of The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, a federally recognized tribe of the Ojibwe, voted not to renew an easement that allowed an Enbridge…

BREAKING NEWS: Trump Revives Keystone XL, Advances DAPL, With Executive Orders

(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) – Washington D.C. – To the dismay and outrage of environmentalists and clean energy supporters worldwide, on January 24, 2017, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders reopening and advancing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Keystone XL (KXL) oil pipelines. Both of…

Tanks, Militarized Police, Move in on Native Americans in DAPL Protest Gone Haywire

(EnviroNews World News) – Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, North Dakota – “We’re going live right here brother – from the front-lines. We got about maybe 100 officers, military tanks. They’re telling people to remove themselves, but we ain’t going to do that.” Those were the words spoken by…

Attack Dogs and Pepper Spray Deployed on Native American ‘Protectors’ in Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

(EnviroNews World News) – Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, North Dakota – Pepper spray filled the air and attack dogs were deployed as protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL) turned violent on Saturday September 4, on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Native American activists representing dozens of…

Diamond Pipeline Company Admits The Massive Project Will Only Create 15 Permanent Jobs

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Jobs, jobs, jobs – that’s about all anyone ever heard from supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline before that project went down in flames at the hands of the State Department earlier this year. Opponents continuously pushed back that Keystone XL would have…

What’s The Big Deal About Pipelines? (Oh Right) – Explosive Pipeline Video Blows Up Online

(EnviroNews World News) – A video posted by the Facebook page ‘The Other 98%’ has gone viral – actually, it’s blown up (pun intended) – just like all the ruptured, exploding, flaming pipelines featured in the 22 second film. As of September 19, the video has gathered up…

Neil Young Takes Stand on Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) With New ‘Indian Givers’ Music Video

(EnviroNews World News) – It’s no secret, legendary rocker Neil Young is all about phasing out fossil fuels as quickly as possible, but his new music video titled, “Indian Givers,” is sure to reinforce Young’s eco-friendly legacy even further. The song is in response to the recent upheaval…

Donald Trump Says He’d ‘Immediately Approve Keystone XL’ While Holding TransCanada Stock

(EnviroNews World News) – Donald Trump reiterated via the Twittersphere last week that he would “immediately approve the Keystone XL Pipeline” is he is elected president. Is anyone surprised? If I am elected President I will immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline. No impact on environment & lots…

Arrest Warrant Issued For Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! After Her Kick-Ass Reporting on Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – The award-winning team at Democracy Now! has announced that an arrest warrant has been issued in North Dakota for host and Executive Producer Amy Goodman. The show reports its celebrated anchor is being charged with criminal trespass – a misdemeanor offense. The warrant…

Neil Young on Climate Change, Keystone XL and Tar Sands at the Cowboy and Indian Alliance in DC

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – This interview with legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Neil Young was taped live on April, 26 2014 at the Cowboy and Indian Alliance in Washington, D.C. The event sought to pressure President Barack Obama to reject the construction of the…

Daryl Hannah and Winona LaDuke on Tar Sands, Keystone XL and Fukushima at the Cowboy and Indian Alliance

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – In this interview, famed celebrity actress and activist Daryl Hannah was interviewed alongside renowned Native American activist, former Green Party vice presidential candidate and economist Winona LaDuke by EnviroNews USA Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry. The dynamic duo attended the Cowboy and Indian Alliance “Reject…

Historic Keystone XL Protest Spurs Hope for Environmental Movement While Activists Battle On

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – The debate against the Keystone Pipeline heated up this past weekend as two traditionally opposed groups came together in an effort to defeat a project that threatens aquifers, sacred lands, and frankly, all life on Earth. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance formed a…

Lakota Sioux Tribe Invokes ‘Bad Men’ Treaty Clause Over Keystone Pipeline – Demands Feds Remove TransCanada

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Lower Brule, Lower Brule Indian Reservation, South Dakota – The Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation as it known in English, pressed on in its fight against the Keystone Pipeline this week. In a press release dated April 29, 2015, the Lower Brule…

First Nations Tribal Land Not For Sale – Lax Kw’alaams Band Rejects Billion Dollar Offer on Pipeline Deal

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Port Simpson, British Columbia – In a decision that will undoubtedly inspire people around the world, the Lax Kw’alaams Band of First Nations natives in British Columbia, Canada have rejected a billion dollar offer to sell out to the interests of big multi-national…

Massive Transneft Pipeline Rupture Sets Moscow River Ablaze

(EnviroNews World News) – Moscow, Russia – Take a look at the dramatic videos in this article and witness giant black pillars of smoke, billowing 300 feet into Moscow’s air, while below on the Moskva River, a fuel-fed fire burns red-hot on the water’s surface. The explosion occurred…

Obama Promises New Lake Michigan Marine Reserve (But What About the Tar Sands Pipeline There?)

(EnviroNews World News) – Washington D.C. – On October 5, 2015, President Barack Obama notified the public of his intention to set aside American waters for two new marine life reserves – one in the tidal waters of Maryland – the other in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan. Obama made…

PetroPeru Using Indigenous Children to Clean up Oil Spill Threatening Amazon River

(EnviroNews World News) – Nazareth, Peru – Two large oil pipeline spills have been reported in Peru near the boarder of Ecuador since late January of 2016. Viscous black crude has made its way into the headwaters of the mighty Amazon River, and more threatens to do so…

Ding Dong The Pipeline’s Dead: Sec. Kerry Kills Keystone XL Pipeline Once and For All

(EnviroNews World News) – On the morning of November 6, 2015, President Barack Obama stood before the media in Washington D.C. to express his support for the State Department’s most recent decision – an all-out rejection of the proposed fourth and final leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline….

BREAKING NEWS: Keystone XL Pipeline Dead (For Now) – TransCanada Pulls Plug on Application Process

(EnviroNews World News) – EnviroNews World News ascertained late this evening, on November 2, 2015, that TransCanada has made a request with the U.S. Government to suspended it’s permit application for the fourth and final leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline – a project intended to carry some…

Tesoro Shelves Utah Oil Pipeline Plan Indefinitely Blaming Market Conditions

(EnviroNews Utah) – Roosevelt, Utah – San Antonio refining giant Tesoro Corporation announced last week that it will be shelving its plan for a 135-mile-long oil pipeline that had been in the works for several years, citing “unfavorable market conditions.” Fuelfix reported Destin Singleton, company spokesman wrote, “due…

Alaska’s Shady Secret Natural Gas Pipeline Deal Moving Quietly Ahead Behind Closed Doors

(EnviroNews Alaska) – Point Thomson, Alaska – Under a cloak of secrecy, and with little opposition from conservation groups, the potentially lucrative Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Pipeline project continues to build momentum under a new Governor. The LNG Pipeline project is designed to move natural gas from…