Hey, if I can’t look at swastikas painted around Aberdeen and conclude the graffitist was probably an angry young male trying to provoke racial or ethnic hatred, how can the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office look at damage to Dakota Access Pipeline fence north of Humboldt and push the idea that the vandal was an environmental activist?
Captain Jason Gearman says a witness describes the suspect as a female. Gearman says she’s 5′-11” to 6′ tall, wearing all dark clothing, carrying a milk crate with what Gearman says could have torches and she was picked up by what looked like a silver, Ford Taurus with Iowa plates.
Gearman says a hole was cut into the fence surrounding that section of pipeline but there was no damage to the pipeline itself.
Gearman says it’s possible that environmental activists may be targeting the pipeline to get the company to shut it down [Jack Taylor, “Suspect Description in Potential Pipeline Vandalism,” KELO Radio, 2017.05.05].
I won’t cover for pseudo-enviro anarchists any more than I’ll cover for pseudo-Nazi smart alecs. Casual vandals have far easier targets to attack than isolated rural pipeline facilities. Multiple incidents along the pipeline route further support the notion that Dakota Access is the target.
But does the scant evidence support singling out environmental activists as the only group named as possible suspects? Let’s consider other plausible suspects:
- ISIS: They’re everywhere, right? Isn’t it about time they figure out that the Midwest is full of soft targets?
- Saudi ISIS sympathizers: Wouldn’t the Saudis have a stake in hamstringing their North American competitors?
- Dakota Access: The Minnehaha County incident involved nothing but fence cut in broad daylight (1:30 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office). Another incident in Wapello County, Iowa, left a cut fence and burn marks on the pipeline but no real damage to put the public or the flow of oil at risk. Serious enviro-nuts, terrorists, or industrial saboteurs would have brought the right tools (e.g., explosives, or a big wrench) at the right time (i.e., night) to do the job right without blowing themselves up (e.g., shooting a blow torch into flammable pressurized petroleum). Cosmetic damage that gins up law enforcement surveillance serves the corporate-police complex, not the activist world.
A six-foot-tall lady carrying a milk crate of tools toward a pipeline is certainly unusual and probably up to no good. But if police are going to ascribe her actions to any possible group with motive, they should be equal-opportunity finger pointers and discuss all of the possibilities.