Home / Be The Change / ‘Not on Our Watch’ — Veterans Promise ‘Boots on the Ground’ to Stop DAPL

‘Not on Our Watch’ — Veterans Promise ‘Boots on the Ground’ to Stop DAPL

A group of U.S. military veterans, standing in defense of Indigenous rights, has vowed construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will never be completed — and will put boots on the ground to ensure it.

“We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected,” Anthony Diggs, spokesman for Veterans Stand, told CNBC. “That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch.”

Veterans, said Diggs, seek to raise enough funds “to have a larger, solid boots-on-the-ground presence.”

As staunch a stance as that might sound, the veterans remain committed to nonviolent action in defense of the Standing Rock Sioux against Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for pipeline construction.

On Wednesday evening, heavily militarized and armed police and National Guard forces advanced en masse across Highway 1806’s Backwater Bridge for the first time in months to clear out a newer camp. At least 76 people were arrested, ostensibly for trespassing on private property — though the Morton County Sheriff’s Department told the Guardian on Wednesday specifics of the charges had yet to be determined.

“A lot of water protectors really felt that we needed to make some sort of stand as far as treaty rights,” Linda Black Elk of the Catawba Nation told the Guardian. “We basically started to see police mobilizing from all directions. Someone came along and told us we had about 15 minutes before the camp would get raided.”

Law enforcement moved to clear the camp just one day after Secretary of the Army Robert Speer told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to grant ETP the easement required to complete drilling under the Missouri River’s Lake Oahe reservoir — the source of Standing Rock’s drinking water and the subject of furious contention over Dakota Access.

Speer’s command also follows the recent signing of executive orders by President Donald Trump for completion of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines — despite the latter being shot down by former President Obama.

Further indicative of a coming law enforcement crackdown on camps of water protectors, on Thursday, officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, tribal police, the ATF, the Standing Rock division of Fish and Wildlife, and USACE showed up unannounced and without a warrant on the property of LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard to “assess” the Camp of the Sacred Stones.

Livestreamer Johnny Dangers captured officials on video refusing to offer explanation beyond the vague ‘assessment’ for their presence on Allard’s private property. Sacred Stone, as the camp is commonly known, is the original site erected for youth water protectors opposing pipeline construction; and — being located on private land — was believed immune from law enforcement efforts of eviction.

Worse, as Dangers and Allard said on social media, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe council appears to have asked officials to descend on the property — making the ‘raid’ a duplicitous act.

“We have been betrayed by Standing Rock Tribal Council,” Allard posted to Facebook when officials arrived and refused to produce a warrant.

In December, tentative celebration erupted when USACE halted pipeline construction in order to perform an exhaustive environmental impact study before granting the aforementioned easement. But Energy Transfer Partners — cognizant of the Trump administration’s favoritism of Big Oil — vowed Dakota Access would be completed without deviation from a planned path under Lake Oahe.

Now, the two raids — and an increasingly intolerant attitude toward camped water protectors by both law enforcement and certain members of the tribal council — seem to evince coming action to evict and arrest water protectors still occupying floodplain land at several camps, including the largest, main camp, Oceti Sakowin.

But the veterans group doesn’t want to let that happen.

“Veterans Stand for Standing Rock started as a mission to shield water protectors and highlight human rights violations,” states the Veterans Stand website. “It grew into something that we never could have imagined. Veterans are people who take an oath and write a blank check to the United States of America, up to and including their life, to protect the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic […]

“Our veterans have stepped up and chosen to serve, because there are still human and constitutional rights being violated. We are honored to serve beside them.”

READ MORE:  BREAKING: Chippewa Tribe Calls for Pipeline Removal from All Tribal Land, Refuses Right-of-way Renewal

U.S. Navy veteran, Petty Officer 1st Class Kash Jackson came to Standing Rock to stand in defiance of the government-backed industry exploitation of Native Americans, telling a reporter from The Young Turks in November, about marching with an inverted American flag,

“Our greatest enemies are not overseas — our greatest enemies are right here.”

Per the U.S. Flag Code, he continued, “whenever you invert the American flag, it is permissible, underneath extreme risk to life and property — and based on what I’ve witnessed, over here in Standing Rock, I don’t think there’s any question whether or not there’s a risk to life and property.”

Several violent attacks led by police against unarmed and prayerful water protectors have left hundreds injured — several permanently — and have fueled worldwide consternation over the U.S. government’s corporate fealty.

But, given concerted efforts by ETP — whose CEO Kelcy Warren donated $100,000 to the president’s campaign — to ensure the oil flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline would be legally permitted for export and profit, anti-pipeline actions around the country should expect similarly oppressive measures from the Trump administration.

With water protectors vehement about staying put in Standing Rock to halt construction of Dakota Access Pipeline for good, assistance from Veterans Stand will undoubtedly be welcome.

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    Good lads and lasses.

    • 17

      If they’re not going armed, they may as well stay home.

      • David Daisy May Boldock

        I see your’e point but should their be any bloodshed then the worldwide condemnation they will endure may just sway things.

        • 17

          There’s already BEEN bloodshed. Where’s the world condemnation against the pigs?

          • David Daisy May Boldock

            I mean worldwide condemnation, but that as ever is slow in coming.

          • colbey

            would we even know? who would report it to us?

      • Hugh Culliton

        That would be the most completely stupid thing they could do. Go in unarmed and any casualties you take hurt the government forces credibility and increase your own. Go in armed and return fire and you’ll be utterly crushed and denigrated as terrorists in the media and your cause will be lost. Keep the “straps” in the shack!

        • 17

          Like I said…may as well stay home.

          • Tyler Robert Johnson

            Pussy

          • 17

            Bite it.

          • Alan Millard

            The Jews did the same in Nazi Germany.

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      Good for what?

      The Feds (USACE), the state (Morton County), the Natives (SRST), nor the residents of Cannon Ball want anyone there.

      http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/cannon-ball-resolution-stands-unchanged/article_2edbf881-45d2-5ced-9d5f-4868285de5bf.html

      • Rena Wrapper

        Oh how quickly people forget. The original pipeline route angered the Bismark townsfolk & they protested. It was a lot shorter, a lot smaller and the Indigenous people came in droves to support them. The pipeline was quickly re-routed to destroy Native territority instead (&the Mississippi & Missourri Rivers) but NOW many of those Bismark folks, INCLUDING the cops who didn’t like the original route are attacking the Indigenous people that supported them. Unarmed Peoplere who have left their families, their jobs, their comforts, their safety, are out there trying to protect the water for 18 MILLION AMERICANS. If big oil messes with even just the Missourri, you all will have MISERY. People need to just take a peek past their noses, look beyond ignorant attitudes and see the real picture. This is serious and the whole world is supporting the protection of that water.

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          The people of Bismark were never asked about the DAPL route and even today the DAPL does not cross the SRST reservation.

          • colbey

            according to the state and local officials. but the treaty says that land DOES belong to the Native Americans as part of the reservation.

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            “but the treaty says that land DOES belong to the Native Americans as part of the reservation”

            Not according to the Laramie Treaty of 1868. You should read it sometime, especially art 11 sec 6.

            Besides, even if it did, the treaty allows for “public utility” right-of-way.

          • colbey

            Articles 16 and 17.

        • colbey

          it was, specifically, i thought, one wealthy suburb north of the city that would have been most impacted? whether that’s true or not, it would be interesting to see where certain people live–those that are working so hard to push the pipeline thru this current planned route. the county sheriff, and others who have trampled on the rights of the Native Americans in their zeal to support certain corporations, i mean.

        • colbey

          these banks are helping ETP with the pipeline. if you’re a customer, you can help by moving your accounts to a bank (or local credit union!) that is not invested in this project (or the fossil fuel industry). and if you do, be sure to let the bank know why you moved your money away from them.

          Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citigroup

      • David Daisy May Boldock

        So they haven’t killed enough Indians yet is that it?

  • Robert Voogd

    thanks Brothers and Sisters!!!

  • Alan Millard

    One thing that sparks my suspicion is the fact the mainstream media has avoided covering the issue and refuses to present an accurate accounting to the people. If there were no corruption hidden in the effort, it would more than likely get media attention and be openly conveyed. This usually means bipartisan (both Republican and Democrat) interests are at stake.

  • Brian King

    Smh they stay in the fort

  • Ace

    Why exactly is this good news?

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    Sanitation crews work to remove massive amounts of garbage from DAPL protest camp before spring thaw.

    http://www.kfyrtv.com/content/news/Sanitation-crews-work-to-remove-massive-amounts-of-garbage-from-DAPL-protest-camp-before-spring-thaw-412954433.html

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    Are the veterans going to help cleanup the camps?

    What? No news of the massive cleanup that needs to be done? Guess that would not be a FreeThoughtProject…

    http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/cleanup-of-protest-camp-moves-at-frustrating-pace/article_a329f8c9-f818-5a7d-a926-47d2ad3505ff.html