The news from Standing Rock in North Dakota is just starting to break through. Thousands of Native people and their supporters have gathered to protest the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline that would bring oil from North Dakota through Iowa and into Illinois.
Last week, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota emerged as climate change heroes when, with little political clout or media spotlight, they halted construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline. After tribal chairman David Archambault II and others were arrested for pushing past barricades to block excavating machinery, Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted that he was inspired, and Bill McKibben touted Native Americans as the “the vanguard of the movement.” As the tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop crews from burrowing beneath the Missouri River immediately upstream from their land, the homely, unpronounceable hashtag #NoDAPL surged—short for No Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Corps of Army Engineers is working to put the pipeline under the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
What could possible go wrong with that idea? Other than an environmental disaster impacting a major portion of the nation’s water supply.
That the Dakota Access Pipeline must be stopped is a no-brainer. President Obama could stop it with the a pen.
Meanwhile the oil companies who are building the pipeline have hired the world largest police force, G4S to provide security and attack the Native American protesters with dogs, gas and pepper spray.
Dakota Access security guards with dogs. No uniforms, name tags and corporate insignias are visible.
The use of dogs on protesters brings back memories of Birmingham said National Lawyers Guild representative Jeff Haas.
Birmingham, Alabama. 1963.
You may have heard of G4S Security. Omar Mateen was an employee until he killed himself after committing the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a Gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
G4S has also been the target of a global boycott campaign for its role in profiteering from the imprisonment of Palestinians. They were contracting with the Israeli prison system and other occupation agencies to provide control rooms, equipment and security systems for Israeli prisons, checkpoints, and the Erez/Beit Hanoun Gaza border crossing where the siege on Gaza is imposed.
There currently exists an embargo of the Standing Rock tribal reservation. The main road has been blocked to entry or exit. Not unlike the embargo of Gaza.
The company is also at work with private prisons in the United States and United Kingdom, and has involvement in migrant detention and deportation in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
As in the U.S. G4S provides security to pipeline and mining projects on stolen Indigenous lands in Canada and security for environmentally destructive tar sands mega-projects.
My brother, Mike, is on his way to Standing Rock this morning. Look for his reports.
In Chicago on Friday, September 9th, at 4pm at Daley Plaza you can attend the rally in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux and the Sacred Stone Camp in their fight against Big Oil and the Dakota Access Pipeline.