In an interview with Democracy Now, award-winning national security journalist Jeremy Scahill revealed stunning connections between a private security firm called TigerSwan, operated by a former Delta Force operative, and law enforcement intelligence operations at Standing Rock.
Co-founder of the Intercept, Scahill, has spent years reporting on private security contractors such as the private security firm TigerSwan. In these most recent revelations, Scahill exposes how TigerSwan has links to the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and is in charge of coordinating intelligence for the Dakota Access pipeline company.
As the interview was wrapping up, Democracy Now host Juan Gonzalez questioned Scahill as to whether he had found any connections between the Morton County Sheriff’s Office and private security firms.
"I think we have about a minute left, but, Jeremy, I wanted to ask you, in terms of the—you reached out to the Morton County Sheriff’s Office to try to get some information on the private security firms. What happened?"
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"Well, the Morton County sheriffs, they 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."
Scahill further elaborated on this stunning revelation by noting that,
“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, in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. And, you know, you realize that 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.”
The reality that tech originally developed for military use in hunting global terror suspects is now being used against peaceful protestors here in the United States should send a shiver down your spine. The fact that this technology is being used in Standing Rock reveals the truly insidious nature of a creeping police state that combines weapons of war with domestic policing to the detriment of free expression and dissent.
It is important to note that private security forces are not necessarily the problem as they are far easier to hold accountable than government agencies like police. However, what Scahill describes in the situation above is anything but private. It is a non-governmental agency melding forces with government -- the de facto definition of corporatism.