Trump and Standing Rock: Protecting the Land of Indigenous People from Energy Transfer Partners Company that is Building the Pipeline
According to The Guardian, Donald Trump, based on his financial disclosure statement to the Federal Election Commission, has between $0.5 and $1.0 million invested in the Energy Transfer Partners Company, and a similar amount in Phillips 66, who have a 25% interest in the pipeline project when it’s completed. And again, according to The Guardian, Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, gave $3,000 personally to Trump’s campaign, $100,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, and $66,800 to the Republican National Committee.
Little is written about Trump’s investment in Energy Transfer Partners or of Kelcy Warren’s investment in the Trump Victory fund and the NRC, but all the events taking place at Standing Rock can be viewed through a lens that takes into consideration this connection between the Presidential candidate, Energy Transfer Partners and Kelcy Warren.
Instead of focusing on this salubrious back-story the media focus is on President Obama and his attempt to find a solution to the standoff that respects the rights of the indigenous people whose rights are violated. Here’s the front story.
The Guardian reports that in North Dakota, Cody Schulz, chairman of the Morton County commission, slammed President Obama’s response to the Dakota Access pipeline protests at Standing Rock. Cody accused the president of allowing Native American activists to “keep escalating their violent activities”.
Cody was incensed by the President saying he was monitoring the situation and he was “going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans”.
“When President Obama says he wants to let the situation ‘play out for several more weeks’,” Schulz is quoted as saying, “it affords the opportunity to the out-of-state militant faction of this protest to keep escalating their violent activities.”
The following video is in direct contradiction to Schulz’s statement of the “violent activities” of an “out-of-state militant faction”. Here we see that it is the armed state “militia” (they are certainly not law enforcers) who are the “militant faction”. Their brutality is documented on the iPhones and video cameras of the peaceful protesters who are standing in solidarity with the indigenous people — who are actually acting as law enforcers of treaties that have been broken — protecting their lands, which have been taken away.
An ethnographic account of what’s happening at Standing Rock is provided by Antonia Juhasz in “Inside the Battle Over the Dakota Access Pipeline”
Arrayed against the protectors on this day is a vast phalanx of police from multiple states and agencies, National Guardsmen, and armed private security forces working for Energy Transfer Partners. This patchwork force — numbering well into the hundreds — have formed a human-and-machine chain fanned out across road and field. The equipment, weapons, uniforms, and tactics they deploy immediately bring me back to my 2011 and 2012 reporting trips to Afghanistan. In order to report on what I’m seeing here, in fact, I turn to a group of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, including several who are themselves water protectors. The similarity to the wars is no coincidence; James Reese, CEO and founder of TigerSwan, the company “in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and which supervises the overall security,” served as the lead advisor for special operations to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency for planning, operations, and integration for the invasion of Afghanistan and as a “High Threat Security Services” director for the Department of State in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’re at that age where we won’t be here long, but our children and our grandchildren will,” Linda Bullbear, 65, of the Oglala Sioux Nation says from her seat in Front Line Camp. She believes it is not a matter of “if” but “when” the pipeline ruptures, that the children “will get sick with their water polluted by oil. Do these people standing there with batons and Taser guns understand that? I wonder if they have families, if they have grandkids, to be enforcing this oil company’s will to come through here and pollute our water?”
Meanwhile in Montgomery, Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley declared a State of Emergency for Alabama on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, due to an explosion and fire of a Colonial Pipeline in Shelby County on Monday, October 31st.
Here’s the Governor:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the six injured workers and with the family of the fatally injured worker,” Governor Bentley said. “An accident of this magnitude is tough for any community to deal with, and I want to personally thank the local first responders for their immediate assistance to this accident, as well as the first responders from surrounding counties. They all provided resources and support to the help Shelby County in their time of need.”
In addition to local responders, state and federal resources are responding to Alabama pipeline disaster including: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation, Alabama Emergency Management, Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, Regional Paramedical Services and others.
Here’s a Reuters account of the Alabama pipeline explosions.
Now back to Standing Rock. The photos by Josh Fox (@JoshFoxfilm) create an indisputable record of the dehumanizing acts taking place by the armed groups – military insurgents — violating the rights of indigenous people who are peacefully resisting the theft of their treaty protected land and water from similar catastrophes.
And finally to seven ways you can support the indigenous people who are protecting their land and the Earth we all share:
The protectors and protesters will be at Standing Rock throughout the North Dakota winter, but behind the scenes the back-story of the Trump and Energy Transfer Partners will play out – dark, dangerous, and threatening all of us.