On the 28th of September, several activists who have been at Standing Rock recounted their experiences at St Stephens to the beginnings of the DC Standing Rock Solidarity group. They recounted the experiences at camp and gave an update on the legal status of the pipeline, in which the segment crossing the Missouri River is on hold due to legal cases concerning the river crossing and the Historic Preservation Act. They also mentioned new and ugly developments today in Standing Rock, where again loaded guns were pointed at water protectors-and an aircraft sprayed tear gas on their totally nonviolent corn planting ceremony. In addition 21 people were arrested.
Attack from the air with chemical weapons is an extreme escalation even in Syria, much less at Standing Rock where only one side (the pipeline builders) uses violence at all. In the US, weapons of any kind fired from aircraft were not used even in the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore. Aircraft were used only for spying and surveillance, not to fire weapons at people even during outright battles in both cities.
The court case holding up construction of the 40 mile segment to go under the Missouri River will be heard in DC on Oct 5 but will not be decided until later. According to one of the speakers at St Stephens, winter will then stop construction even if water protectors lose this case, meaning Energy Transfer and Sunoco are now guaranteed to miss their contracts to start delivering oil in Jan 2017 and will have to pay “liquidated damages” for breach of contract. Rather than cut their losses, the pipeline bosses are continuing construction elsewhere, only to face spreading protests, lockdowns, and site occupations as far away as Iowa. The 21 arrests and heavily armed police near Standing Rock indicate desperation on the part of an enemy facing defeat.
The DC presentation is the first event, not the last by the organizers and those now working with them. There will be many Standing Rock Solidarity events in DC until this project is cancelled. The pipeline may not come here, but Sunoco is here and owns a 30% stake in the DAPL, second only to Energy Transfer Partners themselves. Citigroup, TD Securities (TD Bank) are both well represented in DC and along with Mizuho Bank are the main lenders in a $2.5B loan package ti the project. Everything after the first $1B though is contingent on construction progress that has been missed, so by contract the remaining $1.4 Billion can be cut off. Water protectors will be demanding the banks exercise that escape clause and cut off the money.
The AFL-CIO was called out over Richard Trumka’s insulting statements about water protectors and support for the pipeline. Unions as a whole have divided on this issue.
An enemy plane releases chemical weapons over unarmed water protectors at or near Sacred Stone Camp. Multiple helicopters as well as fixed wing aircraft were mentioned by one of the speakers at St Stephens (photo by Heather on Sep 28)
Armored vehicles brought up to menace unarmed water protectors who are on foot and horseback. Reports of 21 arrests on Sep 28 as a prayerful protest shut down otherwise still ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline construction. (photo by Mara McEwen on Sep 28)