The Army Corps of Engineers told the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that they must move their protest camp south of the Cannonball River by December 5, but the Corps doesn’t plan to force the Dakota Access protestors to move:
The Army Corps of Engineers is seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location, and has no plans for forcible removal. But those who choose to stay do so at their own risk as emergency, fire, medical, and law enforcement response cannot be adequately provided in these areas. Those who remain will be considered unauthorized and may be subject to citation under federal, state, or local laws [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, press release, 2016.11.27].
Omaha District Commander Colonel John Henderson, who issued Friday’s “eviction notice”, maintains that dangerous elements among the protestors put the public at risk:
This transition is also necessary to protect the general public from the dangerous confrontations between demonstrators and law enforcement officials which have occurred near this area. “Unfortunately, it is apparent that more dangerous groups have joined this protest and are provoking conflict in spite of the public pleas from Tribal leaders. We are working to transition those engaged in peaceful protest from this area and enable law enforcement authorities to address violent or illegal acts as appropriate to protect public safety,” said Omaha District Commander, Col. John Henderson [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2016.11.27].
Hmm… dangerous groups joining the protest to provoke conflict? Would that be like the armed guard on the Dakota Access payroll who tried to infiltrate the camp? Or the dubious Black Blockers who match the modus operandi of government and corporate infiltrators?
The Oceti Sakowin camp is about to get another surge of “infiltrators”—hundreds of U.S. military veterans ready to defend the American people instead of corporate interests. Veterans Stand for Standing Rock says it has over 2,100 veterans on its roster to join the Oceti Sakowin camp at the Missouri/Cannonball confluence December 4 and remain through December 7. Their latest Operations Order makes clear these warriors are dedicated to nonviolent tactics:
[O]ur intent is to honor the giants on whose shoulders we stand, such as Gandhi’s salt protest or MLK’s Selma protest. In the ultimate expression of alliance, we are there to put our bodies on the line, no matter the physical cost, in complete non-violence to provide a clear representation to all Americans of where evil resides. The Water Protectors are leading the way against this same evil which we must all face globally, saving ourselves and our children from the apocalyptic outcome of climate change.
…[T]he national press will be on location filming our entire action which is why it is critical that we demonstrate discipline, resolve and bravery. This is not an action of violence, if you feel any potential for violence or antisocial behavior, do not participate in actions, contact us for resources to address that first [Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, Operations Order, retrieved 2016.11.28].
The VSSR Operations Order says repeatedly that “absolutely NO weapons” are allowed. VSSR even tells its troops not to bring ammo pouches, despite their usefulness for carrying other gear.
As of this morning VSSF has raised $490K of its $750K goal on GoFundMe to support this deployment. Hmm… veterans, clean water… what’s not to support?