PREFACE TO the 2016 EDITION
STANDING WITH STANDING ROCK WATER PROTECTORS
Thanksgiving 2016 – The long genocide of descendants of the original inhabitants of the corner of the planet we today call the United States of America proceeds unabated. And so, therefore, continues the resistance.
The fight to preserve the earth’s water and allow it to run naturally through the veins of the planet is an extension of the resistance of the colonial period of U.S. history. The earth-destroyers today use pipelines, hydro-fracking and genetic engineering (and now apparently water cannons and experimental sonic weapons) where they once used the Gatling gun. In some places (like Israel’s control of Palestinian’s water supply) they use both.
The remaining Standing Rock Sioux Indians have united over 100 tribes from across the U.S. and thousands of allies and have been gathering in Cannon Ball North Dakota over these last months to protect their drinking water and historic burial grounds from the ravages of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPl), being built by the private corporation Energy Transfer Partners for $3.8 billion. The pipeline is slated to transport fracked oil from the Bakken shale fields in North Dakota to a transfer point in Illinois, dipping underneath the Missouri River less than a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux’s drinking water supply as well as through the Tribe’s sacred and historical lands, according to tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II. If the Protectors don’t succeed in blocking its construction, the pipeline will become a climate disaster. Tribal leaders are fighting in court to stop it, but the company’s CEO, Kelcy Warren, declared, “There’s not another way. We’re building at that location.”
Energy Transfer Partners
8111 Westchester Drive
Dallas, TX 75225
Office: 214-981-0700 Fax: 214-981-0703
Executive Vice President Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
Vice President Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
The pipeline was initially supposed to go through the City of Bismarck, but that was rejected due to opposition there. The planned route was then shifted south into Indian territory despite the fact that it now will go through territory ceded to the Sioux in The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851.
That 1851 Treaty was signed in the course of the U.S. government’s colonial activities, but it was soon deemed to have ceded too much ground. The government wanted to run a rail line through the territory and so replaced the 1851 treaty by a second one in 1868 following the Civil War, which limited the Sioux to territory now within South Dakota (the Dakota Territory was divided into two states, North and South, in the 1880s). Some tribes agreed to accept the new treaty, but others whose traditional hunting grounds were more to the north opposed it. The government proceeded to try to cram this new “treaty” down the throats of the Indigenous who had rejected it.
The new treaty did include the Black Hills, long revered by many tribes in the Dakotas. But soon, prospectors discovered gold in the hills, and the U.S. government felt obliged to undermine that treaty as well. The pattern of lies, conquest, land-grabbing and genocide continued.
Dakota Access’ claim is another in the series of fracked oil and gas pipelines that in today’s world represent the ongoing corporate attempts to conquer the Native people and steal their resources backed by the U.S. military and state governments.
Early Monday morning November 21st a few hours before dawn, in one of those unheralded and yet auspicious moments that will be recorded by future historians – if there is to be any future, let alone one worth living in – private “security” officers and police hired with public funds from North Dakota’s much ballyhooed state bank (the only bank in the U.S. owned publicly by the State, which shows that the demand for state-owned banks alone is not sufficient for ensuring funding for progressive projects) turned their high-power water hoses on those gathered to protect the water, in freezing temperatures. At a press conference held by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department on Monday, November 21, a reporter asked if the use of water hoses was necessary to keep officers safe. Morton County Police Chief Jason Ziegler responded by saying, “It was effective wasn’t it?”
Police also fired concussion grenades, gas, experimental sound weapons, and so-called “rubber bullets” – the same terrifying technologies used by the British army against the anti-colonial resistance in Ireland throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Rubber bullets impact as though being hit by a bowling ball (made from the same very hard type of synthetic rubber). Over 300 protectors of water were severely wounded.
Many were rendered unconscious and bleeding after being shot in the head with rubber bullets Monday morning. Hundreds were treated for injuries, tear-gas exposure, and hypothermia. Jade Kalikolehuaokakalani Wool had two grenades blow up near her head, knocking her down, burning her face and sending shrapnel into it, and causing her to be hospitalized. Crystal Wilson was shot with a water cannon, tear-gassed and shot with a munition. David Demo was filming police when, without warning, they shot him with a water cannon and then in the hand with a munition. He was hospitalized with broken bones and was told he would need reconstructive surgery. Gary Dullknife III saw a Water Protector knocked to the ground by a water cannon. As police sprayed her on the ground, he tried to move her away. He was shot in the chest, stomach and leg by impact munitions. Mariah Marie Bruce was peacefully protesting when police sprayed her with water cannons. She was then hit in the genitals with a grenade, and was hospitalized. Frank Finan was taking pictures when he was shot in the abdomen and knocked to the ground by a rubber bullet. Israel Hoagland–Lynn tried to help two people who had been shot with water cannons and rubber bullets and was shot in the back of his head by an impact munition. He lost consciousness, was hospitalized, and needed 17 staples for a head wound. Noah Michael Treanor, while praying, was shot by the water hoses or cannon. Once on the ground, he was shot in the head by an impact munition. Bleeding badly, he was hospitalized.
Both the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe sent medical first aid responders to Standing Rock. Along with tribal physicians, nurses, paramedics and integrative healers working in collaboration with local emergency response teams, they triaged and treated the injuries. They report that three elders were struck, and one went into cardiac arrest. A team of earth protectors managed to revive him, and got his heart beating again; he remains in critical condition along with 26 others taken to the hospital.
21-year-old Sophia Wilansky of the Bronx was distributing drinking water when the Morton County Sheriff’s Department targeted her and threw a grenade, which hit her and shredded her arm. She was airlifted to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis a few hundred miles away, where doctors are bit-by-bit trying to rebuild a somewhat functioning arm and hand. (The first surgery took a vein from her leg which they have implanted in her arm to take the place of the missing arteries. She will need multiple surgeries to try to gain some functional use of the arm and hand.)
“There are no words to describe the pain of watching my daughter cry and say she was sorry for the pain she caused me and my wife,”
her father, attorney Wayne Wilansky, said.
“I died a thousand deaths today and will continue to do so for quite some time. I am left without the right words to describe the anguish of watching her look at her now alien arm and hand.”
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department denies it was using concussion grenades and is falsely claiming that Sophia was injured by a propane explosive device thrown by the protectors. Wayne Wilansky responds:
“[The Sheriff’s statements] are ridiculous. Apparently, they’ve changed their story three times since the incident occurred. My daughter is very clear about the fact that she was being shot at the time. She’s got bullet wounds on her body. And she was backing away at the time, and she was trying to reach for a shield so that the bullets wouldn’t hit her at the time that the concussion grenade hit her in the arm and exploded. Witnesses that I’ve spoken to said that the police officers – it takes seven seconds for these concussion grenades to go off. And Instead of throwing them on the ground, they pulled the plug, held them for five seconds and threw them directly at her. So, I’d say that the comments from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department are utterly absurd and ridiculous and not worthy of a shred of belief.”
Wilansky says that the grenade pieces that have been removed from her arm in surgery will be saved for legal proceedings. Nermeen Shaikh of Democracy Now! asked Wayne Wilansky what he was demanding (November 23, 2016). Wilansky said:
“President Obama has to step in there and stop this. They’re drilling now even though they don’t have a permit. The Army Corps of Engineers has asked them to stop. The Army Corps of Engineers has said that they were not going to issue a permit until after they did further environmental studies and spoke with the tribe, and yet they go ahead and set all the drills in place, and they continue. They’re probably drilling under the river right now, as we speak. And it’s a very, very dangerous situation there.
“And that’s just thing Number One. Number Two is they have to demilitarize the police there. There’s no reason that the police should be intentionally trying to kill people, maim people. And this has to stop.”
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both propound the earth-destroying technology of hydro-fracking. Examining what evil those hirelings of capital have perpetrated in order to advance their master’s profits acquired by fracking the earth and constructing a pipeline to transport their ill-gotten oil reveals the sordid history of plunder and resistance that defines and defies Thanksgiving, every Thanksgiving. President Barack Obama could have (and still could) prevented or at least delayed such tragedy with a few words and a signature on a simple Executive Order. But he refuses to do so.
In fact, writes Counterpunch, most politicians have remained silent or neutral on the Dakota Access Pipeline.in
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who has claimed to be Cherokee, said she opposes the pipeline when questioned by a supporter, but has avoided making any public comments on the issue. Hillary Clinton issued a neutral, meaningless statement after protesters sat in her campaign headquarters demanding action. Since her defeat to Donald Trump, she has refrained from devoting any effort to addressing the Dakota Access Pipeline. Democratic Party leaders in the Senate, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, have ignored the issue.
This is likely because the Dakota Access Pipeline is being funded by some of the most prolific donors to the Democratic Party. Sunoco Logistics Partners is set to acquire Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the pipeline, while Sunoco will oversee its operation. The owners of the company primarily consist of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has been one of the top recipients of campaign donations from Wall Street, and he has encouraged Wall Street firms to spread their donations to other Democrats. After the 2008 economic recession, Schumer received 15 percent of Wall Street donations to the Senate in 2009, nearly twice as much as any other Senator. “Wall Street welcomes expected Chuck Schumer promotion,” read a CNN headline from 2015 immediately following Reid’s announced retirement.
Phillips 66, who have financed 25% of the Dakota Access Pipeline project, is primarily owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company. Buffett actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton this past presidential election, and has made large donations to Clinton, Obama, and other Democrats over the past several years.
In December 2015, congressional leaders rescinded a 40-year-ban on oil exports, increasing the potential profits the Dakota Access Pipeline could yield its investors if government officials don’t intervene. Based on their slow reaction so far, and the Democratic Party establishment progressively favoring its corporate and wealthy donors, that window of opportunity for the Obama Administration and top Democrats to step in before Trump enters the White House is rapidly closing.
For those in power morality is an expedient turned inside out and readily sacrificed at the altar of corporate profit. Standing Rock serves as a reminder of how important it is to resist those puppets in government, as well as those who are pulling their strings.
Phillip Two Trees Freeman writes:
“I am Lakota Oglala Brule Sioux of the Rosebud tribe. This isn’t about native Americans, it’s about big banks helping big oil and gas continue to frack, inject toxic fluids into the earth’s aquifers. This endeavor by big oil and banks are multi-faceted. Make as much money as possible no matter the damage and gain water rights. How much control over the people would they have if they get this done?
“I will wager that if I kept you from drinking for two days, by the dawn of the third all will do whatever is told them to quench their thirst. Water is life. It is the great mystery. We all breathed our mother’s water for months. We are born of her water. We are 2% saline water, just as the sea is, but we cannot drink sea water. Water has the highest surface tension of any liquid, is the most powerful solvent known, can exist in three states at sea level, water expands as its temperature is lowered. And it holds memory, our intentions. It’s used as a sacrament the world over. It is the single most important resource on the planet. We talk about terraforming Mars when we can’t be good stewards of our own home. Soon all will learn they cannot eat money.”
See amazing photos from Monday HERE.
A delegation of doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba announced they will head to Standing Rock to “serve in solidarity.”
Reporting on Democracy Now! on Nov. 22, 2016, Juan Gonzalez interviewed Angela Bibens, a lawyer with the Red Owl Legal Collective:
ANGELA BIBENS: Right now we’ve seen people who have been maced. They deployed 20 mace canisters in a small area in less than five minutes, to the point where people have lost bowel function. At least one seizure has been witnessed at the front lines by our legal observation team. There have been people vomiting from the exposure to the mace. The water cannon has been mixed with the mace, and so even our legal observers have been exposed and are trying to deal with that while they’re doing up their notes. And canisters were shot at the medic area at the front line. There is at least one woman who has a broken kneecap. At least one elder went into cardiac arrest and was revived through CPR at the front line by medics. (I’ve edited the interview below …. – MC)
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Sunday’s attack comes as water protectors face an increasingly militarized crackdown against the movement to stop the Dakota Access pipeline over concerns the construction will destroy sacred tribal burial sites and that a pipeline spill could contaminate the Missouri River. The state of North Dakota has approved $10 million to police the ongoing resistance. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has activated the National Guard. Over 400 people have been arrested during the ongoing protests, and many report being subjected to strip searches while in the Morton County jail in North Dakota.
The water protectors have also faced attacks and surveillance from private security companies working for the Dakota Access pipeline company. On September 3rd, unlicensed private security guards unleashed attack dogs on Native Americans trying to protect a tribal burial site from destruction. The private security firm TigerSwan security is in charge of coordinating intelligence for the Dakota Access pipeline company. TigerSwan has links to the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater.
Another security company at Standing Rock is G4S, formerly Wackenhut. “The dogs are from Frost canine, owner, Bob Frost of Louisville Ohio. The female dog handler in the videos is Ashley Nicole Welch of Burton Ohio, a friend of Bob Frost,” writes a former deputy sheriff in Florida. “There are more than two dozen banks assisting Energy Transfer Partners in financing this insanity.”
Juan Gonzalez is joined by Intercept reporter Jeremy Scahill, who has spent years reporting on private security contractors, including TigerSwan.
Welcome back, Jeremy. What about the situation in North Dakota?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, first of all, let’s remember that we’re speaking a week when there’s the big American holiday, Thanksgiving, and I always think of the slaughter of the indigenous people in this country around this time of year and people like Leonard Peltier, the political prisoner. Unfortunately, it seems like yet another president is going to leave office without pardoning Leonard Peltier. But to watch what we’re seeing of the protectors on this indigenous land facing environmental-destroying companies really brings home the kind of utter hypocrisy of the narrative about the United States of America. Also, if you look at the way these indigenous people and their supporters are being treated versus the Bundy ranchers who didn’t occupy their native land; they went and they took over federal land with weapons and ended up getting acquitted, including of the charges that they were very clearly guilty of, which is all these weapons possession charges – it makes you wonder, if this is the state of affairs under President Obama, who actually has visited Native reservations and Native territories, what’s going to happen under Trump?
And this firm, TigerSwan, was founded by a Delta Force operative named James Reese and has done voluminous amounts of covert and overt work for the U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. You have this convergence of all that has been so wrong in the post-9/11 world, with these big environment-destroying companies, the stripping even further of indigenous rights, private security forces, the brutality against protesters, the paramilitarization of law enforcement. And now our incoming president – I still feel strange saying that – Donald Trump also has business connections to the pipeline project. Is he going to divest? This is going to go from the level of Obama just being really bad on these policies to Trump actively trying to make it worse for the environment.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, in a recent interview, the head of the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, Kelcy Warren of Energy Transfer Partners, said he’s 100 percent confident that Trump will support the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. Kelcy Warren has donated more than $100,000 to Trump’s campaign, while Trump himself has between $500,000 and a million dollars invested in Energy Transfer Partners, according to his own disclosures.
JEREMY SCAHILL: When Cheney was coming in, we were talking about Enron and the people that they put on their commission about energy. You know, Trump’s choice of who he’s going to put in as energy secretary or secretary of the interior – they’re even talking about potentially Sarah Palin being the interior secretary. Was Ronald McDonald not available? It’s really sick, some of the people. You know, putting Mike Huckabee in charge of health and human services, a guy who said that abortion is worse than the Holocaust? It really feels like we’re watching a not-so-slowly moving train-wreck in this country right now.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Or even floating the idea that Joe Arpaio, who’s just been voted out as Maricopa County sheriff, would become head of homeland security. Although at 82 years old, I doubt that he wants to come to Washington.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah. It would be an amusing, you know, [Arpaio’s] Senate confirmation hearing. What’s more likely, but in the same category, is Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, who is African-American himself but has called Black Lives Matter subhuman. He’s said there is no such thing as police brutality, and led the chants of “Blue lives matter” at the Republican National Convention. Clarke is a regular on Bill O’Reilly’s show and others on Fox News. …
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You reached out to the Morton County Sheriff’s Office to try to get some information on the private security firms. What happened?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, the Morton County sheriffs released documents, internal documents, about their investigation into the dog handlers. And what they inadvertently revealed was that this company, TigerSwan, run by these Delta Force guys, was actually in charge of coordinating the intelligence operations against the protesters.
One word of advice to all the protesters there: Do not believe that your cellphones or your computers are clean and uncompromised. I guarantee you that they’re using the entire suite of surveillance devices. I know that people have been complaining that their cellphones have been down, their internet has been down. That can be caused by surveillance weaponry targeting their devices. It could be because there are so many people using them. But my guess would be that they are using people’s devices, meaning law enforcement and private security, as geo-tracking devices And people should be very aware that the full CIA/NSA-developed suite of tools that now have made it into the hands of local law enforcement in this country are most certainly trained on those activists and their supporters.
Meanwhile, scores of U.S. military veterans have announced plans to travel to North Dakota to join the protests.
WHAT TO DO?
– Bombard TD Bank and CitiGroup with letters and complaints.– Both have holdings in Energy Transfer Partners
– Standing Rock medics say that the Water Protectors are in critical need of the following items:
- Milk of Magnesia
- Wool socks
- Wool blankets
- Space blankets
- Hand warmers
- Trauma kits (portable)
- Suturing kits
Supplies can be shipped to:
Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council
PO Box 1251
Bismark ND, 58502
If you are shipping via UPS or Fed Ex, please use this address:
220 E. Rosser Ave. 1251
Bismark, ND, 58502
1. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-8118. Leave a message
2. Call North Dakota National Guard: 701-333-2000 #3.
3. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903
4. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
5. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf
6. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:
a. Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
b. Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners Telephone: (210) 403-6762 Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
c. Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 1300 Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Telephone: (713) 989-2404 Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com
CALL THE WHITE HOUSE
DEMAND THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA
SIGN AN ORDER ISSUING
CLEMENCY FOR LEONARD PELTIER
(202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414
• North Dakota Governor’s Office: 701-328-2200
• Morton County Sheriff’s Office: 701-667-3330
• Morton County State’s Attorney’s Office: 701-667-3330
• Army Corps of Engineers-Bismarck 701-255-0015
- ABN Amro Capital
- Bank of America
- Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotia Bank)
- Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ
- BNP Paribas
- Citibank (CitiGroup)
- Citizens Bank
- Compass Bank
- Credit Agricole
- Credit Suisse
- Deutsche Bank
- DNB Capital ASA
- Goldman Sachs
- HSBC Bank
- JP Morgan
- ICBC London
- Mizuho Bank
- PNC Bank
- SMBC Nikko Securities
- Societe Generale
- TD Securities
- UBS Origin Bank (formerly Community Trust)
- U.S. Bank
- Wells Fargo
Special thanks to Chris Kinder, Barbara Deutsch, Isis Feral and Malika Moro for research and commentary.
From Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz:
Thanksgiving has never been about honoring Native Americans. It’s been about the origin story of the United States, the beginning of genocide, dispossession and constant warfare from 1607 in Jamestown until the present. It’s a colonial system that was set up.
There’s a sort of annual calendar for this origin story, beginning with Columbus, October 12. Why celebrate Columbus? It was the onset of colonialism, the slave trade and dispossession of the Native people of the Americas. So, that is celebrated with a federal holiday. That’s followed by Thanksgiving, which is a completely made-up story to say the Native people welcomed these people who were going to devastate their civilizations, which is simply a lie. And then you go to Presidents’ Days, the Founding Fathers, in February, and celebrate these slaveowners, Indian killers. George Washington headed the Virginia militia for the very purpose of killing Native people on the periphery of the Virginia colony. And then we have the big day, the fireworks, July 4th, independence, which is probably the most tragic event in world history, because it gave the world a genocidal regime under the guise of democracy.
I’m a historian, so that’s the historical context that I think we have to see Thanksgiving in, that it is a part of that mythology that attempts to cover up the real history of the United States.
When Thanksgiving was introduced as a holiday by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, there was no mention of pilgrims and Native people or food or pumpkins or anything like that. It was simply a day for families to be together and mourn their dead and be grateful for the living. And I think that’s an appropriate holiday, how people should enjoy it. They should take Native Americans and Puritans out of the picture for it to be a legitimate holiday of feast and sharing with family and friends.
I send greetings to the people at Plymouth. They have, for many years – I think it’s almost 40 years now – stood up and testified to the lie of Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, the pilgrims. And this is very hard for people to give up. This is nationalism. Americanism is white supremacy and represents negative things. There’s almost no way to reconcile it. It simply has to be deconstructed and faced up to; otherwise, there will be no social change that’s meaningful for anyone.
* * * * *
On Thanksgiving morning 2003, George W. Bush showed up in Iraq before sunrise for a photo-op, wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers. He cradled a platter with what appeared to be a golden-brown turkey. Washington Post reporter Mike Allen wrote that “the bird looks perfect, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.”
As the world was soon to learn (but quickly forgot), the turkey platter was a phony, a plastic decoration that Bush posed with for the cameras. Bush shook a few hands, said a few “God Bless Americas,” and scurried back to his plane as quickly as he had arrived.
Thus, in one fell swoop, the new Conquistador had tied to history’s bloody bough the 511-year-old conquest of the “New World” whose legions smote the indigenous population in the name of Christ with the U.S. government’s bombardment and invasion of Iraq and the torture-detentions of prisoners of war at U.S. military bases.
Also, Glen Ford, The End of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicing
and Robert Jensen,
- “No Thanks to Thanksgiving”
- “Why We Shouldn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving”
- “How I Stopped Hating Thanksgiving and Learned to Be Afraid”
- “The Meaning of Thanksgiving”