What type of creep looks at the photos of tank-like Humvees and police officers in military-grade combat gear facing down Standing Rock Sioux protestors trying to protect their water supply and thinks, “Those cops need some help. Let’s get our state in on this chewy clusterfk.”
What kind of unconscionable dickweed sees pictures of protestors shot in the face with rubber bullets and decides that his own state troopers should be involved, pulling the trigger, blasting the sound canon, spraying the mace?
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, apparently.
From the Springfield News-Sun on Saturday:
A contingent from the Ohio State Highway Patrol left Dayton this morning to assist North Dakota officials with security in protests over a pipeline.
Thirty-seven Ohio troopers from all over the state are en route to the site, officials said this morning…
“Our mission there is just to provide support for the state of North Dakota,” said Lt. Robert Sellers, public affairs commander for Ohio patrol. “We’ll be providing safety and security for everyone. And we’re going to help law enforcement there protect property and to protect everybody’s rights.”
Oh are you, Lt. Sellers? Are you going to be providing safety and security for everyone? Are you going to protect property and everybody’s rights? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize bullshit on flatbread was the early bird special this week.
Here’s what’s up. A Texas-based company called Energy Transfer Partners is working to complete a 1,200-mile pipeline to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois.
Originally, a plan was hatched to send the pipeline across the Missouri River north of Bismarck, North Dakota. But in an environmental assessment, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided such a crossing would be a potential danger to the Bismarck water supply. Imagine that.
So what plan did the Corps approve instead? The one where the pipeline crossed the Missouri River a half-mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
The Lakota and Dakota tribes of the reservation – perhaps more than a little tired of being crushed beneath the boot of the white man’s government – filed for an injunction against the Corps to halt construction.
They also began to protest, eventually joined by members of more than 150 other American Indian tribes, making this the largest unified protest effort by first peoples in the history of this nation.
(Let’s pause just a moment to acknowledge that the Standing Rock Reservation was the site of the murder of Sitting Bull, the Lakota holy man and political leader who mightily resisted the land theft and persecution of the Sioux after gold was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the U.S. government decided to break its previous treaties in the murderous pursuit of private interest greed.)
Breaking treaties and pursuing private interest greed once again, the U.S. government has sided with Energy Transfer Partners. In September, a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Reservation’s request for injunction.
And last week, law enforcement and private security contractors hired by Energy Transfer Partners came moseying along like an occupying military force and rousted an encampment of protestors near the pipeline construction.
From NBC News:
Authorities used pepper spray and fired bean bags at activists demonstrating against a controversial North Dakota oil pipeline as the standoff there reached a new peak Thursday, according to officials.
Armed soldiers and police in riot gear removed the demonstrators using trucks, military Humvees, and buses Thursday afternoon, according to The Associated Press. Two helicopters and an airplane scanned the operation from the air.
At least 141 protesters were arrested as of midnight Thursday (1 a.m. ET) after law enforcement slowly closed in and tensions escalated, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department threw out some piddle about gunshots being fired by a protestor as justification for the extreme use of force against the protestors en masse.
Please note that in the ensuing days, nobody has been named and no charges have been filed with regard to that allegation, placing the assertion in the same sandwich shop as Lt. Sellers’ flatbreads – open-faced bullshit on pumpernickel toast; get it while it’s hot.
Meanwhile, protestors are telling news people that some of those arrested were kept in dog kennels.
So what’s the sum of this? We have the U.S. government backing the unjust exploitation of native peoples and their land, endangering their health and well-being, in the interest of corporate greed, and using a combination of private security contractors and state law enforcement to inflict physical harm on anybody who resists.
Look kids, it’s the 19th Century, 21st Century-style! And Gov. John Kasich is sending Ohio State Troopers to help with the oppression.
Lt. Sellers, your mission is to provide support for an oil company. You’ll be providing safety and security for the interests of white corporate greed. You’ll be protecting the property rights of an oil pipeline destined to poison a water supply.
Because here’s the thing about pipelines: They break. They continually break.
If you’d like to tell Gov. Kasich to recall these Ohio State troopers immediately, please sign this petition.
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive’s RouteFifty.com, the National Journal’s The Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.