ETP Mercenaries Surveilled, Infiltrated Dakota Access Protests, Portrayed Opponents as Jihadists

The Intercept has obtained internal documents showing that Energy Transfer Partners employed mercenary firm TigerSwan to surveil, infiltrate, and undermine Dakota Access pipeline protestors in North Dakota and all along the controversial pipeline’s route. The leaked documents also show local, state, and federal agencies coordinating their law enforcement effort with these private hired guns. This corporate fascism began under the Obama Administration.

According to The Intercept, TigerSwan gathered drone video surveillance and other evidence to aid law enforcement with arrests and prosecutions, expressed frustration when law enforcement gave protestors leeway, and pushed for “more punitive tactics” like quicker arrests and fines and higher bail.

Referring to pipeline protests as “insurgencies” and “attacks”, TigerSwan resorted to military-style counterterrorism tactics like infiltration and psychological warfare against civilians exercising their First Amendment rights:

The reports also reveal a widespread and sustained campaign of infiltration of protest camps and activist circles. Throughout the leaked documents, TigerSwan makes reference to its intelligence-gathering teams, which infiltrated protest camps and activist groups in various states. TigerSwan agents using false names and identities regularly sought to obtain the trust of protesters, which they used to gather information they reported back to their employer, according to the TigerSwan contractor.

…In an October 3 report, TigerSwan discusses how to use its knowledge of internal camp dynamics: “Exploitation of ongoing native versus non-native rifts, and tribal rifts between peaceful and violent elements is critical in our effort to delegitimize the anti-DAPL movement.” On February 19, TigerSwan makes explicit its plans to infiltrate a Chicago protest group. “TigerSwan collections team will make contact with event organizers to embed within the structure of the demonstration to develop a trusted agent status to be cultivated for future collection efforts,” the report notes, later repeating its intent to “covertly make contact with event organizers” [Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, and Alice Speri, “Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to ‘Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies’,” The Intercept, 2017.05.27].

TigerSwan ascribed to Energy Transfer Partners’ opponents “a strong religious component” and a “jihadist insurgency model.” In a September 22 situation report to ETP, TigerSwan pointed out the presence of Palestinians at a Mandan protest and raised concerns about “the movement’s involvement with Islamic individuals”:

John Porter, Chief Security Officer, TIgerSwan DAPL SitRep 011# to Energy Transfer Partners, 2016.09.22.
John Porter, Chief Security Officer, TIgerSwan DAPL SitRep 011# to Energy Transfer Partners, 2016.09.22.

TigerSwan’s subcontractor Silverton maintained three security teams, based in Aberdeen, DeSmet, and Sioux Falls, to conduct roving patrols along the Dakota Access route in South Dakota. TigerSwan tailed activists and journalists in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa. The September 11 situation report notes that Silverton security personnel would stage for a protest in Sioux Falls on Monday, September 12. The November 5 situation report says, “Operations were conducted to intercept Gary Tomlin, a reported free-lance reporter in the South Dakota sector.”

John Porter, TigerSwan DAPL SitRep 001 to ETP, 2016.09.11.
[highlighting mine] John Porter, TigerSwan DAPL SitRep 001 to ETP, 2016.09.11.
TigerSwan also produced counter-propaganda for ETP:

In a report dated September 7, TigerSwan agents discuss the need for a “Social Engagement Plan.” On September 22, they discuss the development of an information operations campaign run by the company’s North Carolina-based intel team and Robert Rice, who without disclosing his TigerSwan affiliation posed as “Allen Rice” in a series of amateurish videos in which he provided commentary critical of the protests. The videos, posted on the Facebook pages “Defend Iowa” and “Netizens for Progress and Justice,” were removed after The Intercept contacted TigerSwan, Rice, and the pages’ administrators for comment. None responded [Brown et al., 2017.05 27].

John Porter, TigerSwan SitRep 003 to ETP, 2016.09.13.
John Porter, TigerSwan SitRep 003 to ETP, 2016.09.13.

As a bonus, TigerSwan appears to have lied to the state of North Dakota and operated illegally, without a license:

Records from the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board show that TigerSwan has operated without a license in North Dakota for the entirety of the pipeline security operation, claiming in a communication with the board, “We are doing management and IT consulting for our client and doing no security work.” In September, the licensing board learned about the company’s position as a Dakota Access contractor and wrote a letter to its North Carolina headquarters requesting that it submit a license application.

TigerSwan then did so, but the board denied the application on December 19. After James Reese wrote a letter objecting to the decision, the security board’s executive director responded on January 10 that “one reason for the denial concerns your failure to respond to the Board’s request for information as to TigerSwan’s and James Reese’s activities within the State of North Dakota.” Neither TigerSwan nor the board responded to questions regarding the current status of the company’s license [Brown et al., 2017.05 27].

The Intercept documents run through May, showing that even after the clearing out of the Standing Rock protest camp and the completion of pipeline construction, TigerSwan protects its profitable contract by playing up threats to ETP’s assets. Such is one of the dangers of these mercenary firms: their profit motive may drive them to encourage clients to believe they are in a constant state of war (this should sound familiar) and continue investing in private police-state efforts that infringe on citizens’ civil liberties.

6 Responses to ETP Mercenaries Surveilled, Infiltrated Dakota Access Protests, Portrayed Opponents as Jihadists

  1. mike from iowa

    What/where is the tie in to Drumpf’s crowd of thugs? The new McCarthyites see radical Islamists everywhere in their efforts to scare the public into submission.

  2. Porter Lansing

    Grudzie, Grudzie Grudzie … You were “partly” right, all along. There were paid protestors at DAPL but they were working for the p*gs.

  3. The oil companies security (former military forward teams and those involved with phyops) followed the manual on counter insurgency to perfection. What resistance has never understood is that they are viewed as insurgents and are targeted as such. It does not matter if they are white (Occupy Wall Street), or American Indians or anyone for that matter, they are considered insurgents to the people who write the checks, if there is disagreement. If you are going to resist that power, you must understand how they, the elite intend using methods to deal with you. The two dudes that wrote the manual they followed are David Petraeus and James Mattis, it is compelling and worth the read, if you can find it. Funny thing, this democracy business.

  4. Boy, how things have changed. I seem to remember our cultist republican brethren speaking tongues about the government overreach of a Black President (he is coming for your guns, run for the hills, my hair is on fire). Now, there is no outrage at United States citizens being targeted by foreign companies using combat military strategy. Those same hombres were using terms like 2nd Amendment for their protection in case of this kind of overreach and yet, here we are. The 2nd Amendment crowd is an empty shell, pun intended, on why they are arming themselves. It has never been about the government, it has always been about race. Simple as that. I wonder what our fathers would say to a foreign power that targets United States citizens within the borders of the United States? During the time of the “greatest generation”, everyone of every religion and every color and every political party pulled together to defeat those who would enslave us. It did not matter what political party you belonged to, and to a point, how much money you had, they were all together as one. How far we have allowed democracy to slip and fall still amazes me. In the last few months, we have not allowed the sitting of our first female president, through the vote hacking efforts of another foreign power, russia, but in that same time frame, we are now seeing our first female leader of the free world. Angela Merkel of Germany has shown the western world what leadership is and the world agrees, but we sure showed those American Indian citizens how it is done in Afghanistan and Iraq, good lessons learned for a leaky oil pipeline.

  5. Memorial Day in Mexico by United States deported veterans honor the day, even when they have been betrayed.

  6. barry freed

    You try to craft your writing to give the impression of intelligence and insight. Calling all devotes of the Constitution racists, you show neither. If you actually believe something that stupid, the empty shell is your hat holder.

    When one considers the topic of this post, you are a DAPL Agent Provocateur, distracting by starting a fire: State a false, and/or unprovable “factoid/opinion” (2Aers and Obama) and expand the fallacy beyond all reason. i,e,: Gun Rights equals racism. Now the topic is guns, rather than a multinational corporation assaulting, maiming, and violating the US Constitutional Rights of those practicing their 1st. There’ll be an extra cookie in your pay envelope this week, Mr Koch employee.