Veterans Organizing “Like a Military Unit” to Defend DAPL Protesters from Militarized Police
Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is about to get a major boost. On Dec. 4, U.S. military veterans — possibly numbering in the hundreds — plan to gather “like a military unit” to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Having witnessed the police state brutality inflicted on Native Americans attempting to protect sacred land and natural resources, the former service members feel compelled to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux.
According to the Veterans for Standing Rock GoFundMe page:
“We are veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including the U.S. Army, United States Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard and we are calling for our fellow veterans to assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Dec 4-7 and defend the water protectors from assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force and DAPL security.”
Tulsi Gabbard, the first Native American member of Congress and a combat war veteran, will be joining the act of resistance, according to the Facebook page Veterans Stand for Standing Rock.
As Task and Purpose notes, federal government ignored their duty under the National Historic Preservation Act to consult the Standing Rock Sioux before approving DAPL. Some of the pipeline construction will take place on sacred land that was taken from the tribe over the past 150 years, and the pipeline will be buried under the tribe’s drinking water source.
While federal government abandoned Native Americans once again, law enforcement are acting as militarized protection services for Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based company behind the 1,170-mile pipeline. State and local governments are set to reap millions in taxes once the oil begins flowing.
Numerous violent crackdowns have already been carried out by cops in riot gear – drenching protestors with water cannons in freezing temperatures, blowing arms apart with concussion grenades, choking protestors with tear gas and sending people into cardiac arrest.
“This country is repressing our people,” said Michael Wood, a Marine Corps veteran and former Baltimore police officer. “If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.”
The main man behind it all is Wes Clark, Jr., son of Gen. Wesley Clark, a former Supreme Allied Commander who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. Clark Sr. called for action on climate change, and this motivation is also driving his son to fight against DAPL.
Wes Clark, Jr., is best known as a co-host for the Young Turks, and sees the Dec. 4 resistance at DAPL as “the most important event up to this time in human history.
“We’re not going out there to get in a fight with anyone. They can feel free to beat us up, but we’re 100% nonviolence.”
Clark and Wood say they are prepared to take a bullet for the cause, and they are going in well-prepared. The veterans will don old military uniforms and be equipped with body armor, ear plugs and gas masks.
“Vets Standing For Standing Rock was announced via an official sounding letter formatted like a five-paragraph military operation order, breaking down the “opposing forces” — “Morton County Sheriff’s office combined with multiple state police agencies and private security contractors” — “Mission,” “Execution” and “Logistics,” among other things. A packing list virtually mirrors the ones issued to soldiers preparing to deploy to the field (minus the weapons). But there are also parts of the document that read like a revolutionary manifesto. Under the section titled “Friendly Forces,” for example, the op order states, “we are there to put our bodies on the line, no matter the physical cost, in complete nonviolence to provide a clear representation to all Americans of where evil resides.”
Clark and Wood have an “operations order” in place to so they can organize “like a military unit” to carry out their goals. With a group of possibly 500 other veterans and other brave souls, they will lock arms and cross the Missouri River to confront militarized police with “rifles, mace, batons, and dogs.” Traditional Sioux war songs will be played as they attempt to surround the drill pad from which the pipeline will be bored under the river.
“It’s simple and we have clearly defined goals, so people don’t get caught up in the confusion,” said Wood. “One of the issues the police are going to face is that our level of planning and coordination is vastly superior to theirs, so they may end up with a problem when it comes to that.”
Even if the veterans are unsuccessful in stopping DAPL, the confrontation is sure to draw national attention — even from a mainstream media that have virtually ignored the corporate and government abuse being carried out on Native Americans in the interest of big oil.