Published on The Doomstead Diner on November 30, 2016
Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner
In less than a week from now as I begin writing this article, the Army Corps of Bozos threatens to dismantle the encampment of mainly First Nations people which has grown nearby the Standing Rock Reservation of the Lakota, the small neighborhood these folks have left as they were rounded up while Europeans marched across the continent and stole everything from these people. They stole the land, they stole their culture and they stole the lives of millions, bringing disease incubated in the agricultural system they developed to them as well. Diseases like the Smallpox were intentionally inflicted on these people to clear them from the land, passing out the Smallpox infected blankets. They had no immunity to this disease, since they were not running farming for the most part and did not live in close proximity to many other mammals that could spread such a disease. The population was decimated, more than 90% of the aboriginal population disappeared within a century. It was the greatest exercise in Genocide ever performed on this planet, far surpassing the genocide of the Jews during the Holocaust in the WWII era. It was entirely purposeful, and every "law" the Europeans had on their own books was violated along the way. Every treaty was broken, there was no justice ever in all of it. It was pure and simple theft and murder all along the way.
Disease was not the only vector for Death though, the Indian Wars were non-stop through the 1800s as the Manifest Destiny of Europeans to conquer the continent was undertaken. They came to a close more or less with the Massacre at Wounded Knee, which occured on Dec 29, 1890. It occured at the Lakota Reservation at Pine Ridge in South Dakota.
The previous day, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M. Whitside intercepted Spotted Elk's band of Miniconjou Lakota and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota near Porcupine Butte and escorted them 5 miles (8.0 km) westward to Wounded Knee Creek, where they made camp. The remainder of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, led by Colonel James W. Forsyth, arrived and surrounded the encampment. The regiment was supported by a battery of four Hotchkiss mountain guns.
On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it. A scuffle over the rifle ensued and by the time it was over, more than 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 were wounded (4 men and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Twenty-five soldiers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded later died). At least twenty soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor. In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions condemning the awards and called on the U.S. government to rescind them. The site of the battlefield has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1990, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a resolution formally expressing "deep regret" for the massacre.
Nearly a century later, there was yet another Standoff at Wounded Knee which began on February 27, 1973, as Russell Means and Dennis Banks led a standoff between the FBI and AIM, the American Indian Movement of the 1970s on the Pine Ridge reservation. Dennis Banks eventually got jail time, Russell Means became a famous Movie Star portraying such characters as Chingachcook in "Last of the Mohicans"
The Wounded Knee incident began on February 27, 1973, when approximately 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The protest followed the failure of an effort of the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization (OSCRO) to impeach tribal president Richard Wilson, whom they accused of corruption and abuse of opponents. Additionally, protesters criticized the United States government's failure to fulfill treaties with Native American people and demanded the reopening of treaty negotiations.
Oglala and AIM activists controlled the town for 71 days while the United States Marshals Service, FBI agents, and other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area. The activists chose the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre for its symbolic value. Both sides were armed, and shooting was frequent. A U.S. marshal was shot and paralyzed in March. A Cherokee and an Oglala Lakota were killed by shootings in April 1973. Ray Robinson, a civil rights activist who joined the protesters, disappeared during the events and is believed to have been murdered. Due to damage to the houses, the small community was not reoccupied until the 1990s.
The occupation attracted wide media coverage, especially after the press accompanied the two U.S. senators from South Dakota to Wounded Knee. The events electrified American Indians, who were inspired by the sight of their people standing in defiance of the government which had so often failed them. Many American Indian supporters traveled to Wounded Knee to join the protest. At the time there was widespread public sympathy for the goals of the occupation, as Americans were becoming more aware of longstanding issues of injustice related to American Indians. Afterward AIM leaders Dennis Banks and Russell Means were indicted on charges related to the events, but their 1974 case was dismissed by the federal court for prosecutorial misconduct, a decision upheld on appeal.
Wilson stayed in office and in 1974 was re-elected amid charges of intimidation, voter fraud, and other abuses. The rate of violence climbed on the reservation as conflict opened between political factions in the following three years; residents accused Wilson's private militia, Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs), of much of it. More than 60 opponents of the tribal government died violently during those years, including Pedro Bissonette, director of the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization (OSCRO).
So now here we are once again, and this time it looks like the LAST STAND for the Lakota. Thousands of "Water Protectors" have gathered at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to press releases over the last week, the Army Corps of Bozos expects these folks to leave the encampment on December 5th and go…somewhere else. To an officially sanctioned Protest Spot where in theory they won't hinder the continuing construction of the pipeline…
Now, let me ask you, how effective could a protest be if it is not actually at the site of where the problem is? It would be like Occupiers occupying some park in New Jersey while protesting against shenanigans going on on Wall Street, rather than Zucchini Park in the Belly of the Beast. If a State is Sanctioning a "protest", then HTF is it a protest? If you only have Free Speech when and where the state says you have Free Speech, HTF is that Free Speech? Not to mention of course, if you're not causing SOME kind of ruckus, nobody in the media will cover it! That includes the alt-media as well as the MSM. The Dakota Access protest has been ongoing and building for a solid 7 months, but even here on the Diner I only got wind of it back in August, and made my first post on this movement back then. It had been going on since at least April before that physically, and in meetings and legal actions before that. But nobody knew about this, including yours truly.
So, to get this particular exercise in protest going, the Water Protectors had to get publicity, which at first came just through the Social Media, but expanded to YouTube with the publication of Amy Goodman's video documentary for Democracy Now! That REALLY revved it up for the Water Protectors, as the DAPL Security Gestapo sicked Attack Dogs on the Water Protectors. That was such bad publicity it got Obama-sama to ask the Army Corps of Bozos to do a review of their permits, and there was a brief period of VICTORY celebration for the Water Protectors. Destined not to last of course, and construction on the pipeline quickly resumed after this brief commercial interruption.
So now here we are this week, with the Gauntlet supposedly thrown down by the Army Corps of Bozos for these folks to get off the "Federal Property" they are currently occupying and move to a Free Speech Zone. Ostensible reason for this is that winter is hitting any they're not "safe" where they currently are. How stupid is that? It's not going to be any warmer a few miles away in the FSZ. Plus they already have their current encampment winterized.
Now, one question posed inside the Diner was, "So how come the tribal leaders didn't show up at the hearings when the original permits were granted?".
The answer to that should be obvious. Nobody in the First Nations believes that any treaty will be upheld or they can get any real justice in the White Man's Court. You can hardly blame them after 250 years of having one treaty after another broken and watching their lands taken from them and being forced down to ever smaller reservations on the worst land. They have the highest rates of incarceration of any group and the highest rates of poverty. If they're not on the reservation, they're in prison.
So, particularly when facing down Big Oil and the Big Banks salivating over the big commissions they would get to seal this deal, they simply stood no chance at a hearing, and going to Washington would have been a waste of time and money.
What changed the equation in April was that a Movement began after one of the locals put up a video on Facepalm and asked people to come join her and make a stand. Come they did, slowly at first just a few dozen, but then the word got out and it snowballed. They came by the thousands, currently there are estimated to be 5000 Water Protectors on site. A group of Veterans, the "Oath Keepers" are set to bring in another 2500 or so to stand with the First Nations people, along with many white folks from the Environmental movement. Between when I am writing this now and when I publish, there is time for a lot more people to show up there as well. So you are probably looking at at least 10,000 people there on D-Day for the Water Protectors, possibly more.
From Da Goobermint side, how many Gestapo can they field or will they field to try and clear this camp? Da Goobernator of North Dakota, Dailpimple has already spent over $10M to send in militarized police to try and intimidate the Water Protectors, and for this shindig has thrown the ball back at Da Feds saying it's THEIR job to clear the encampment. That would mean Obama-sama has to call in the National Guard, and lots of them. Now, how does that one look for the legacy of an outgoing POTUS who supposedly was a champion of the underclass?
These folks are not going to leave that spot unless they are forcibly removed, a request from His Highness Obama-sama is not going to do the trick. To do that will take a LOT of boots on the ground, along with stuff like LRAD, Water Cannon and Tear Gas. That may get the people off the spot for now, but it will produce a lot of ugly publicity, through the Social Media at least if not on the MSM where it is sure to be whitewashed and the blame placed on the Water Protectors for not obeying the command of the state.
What seems more likely is that this will get stretched out until Trumpty-Dumpty is installed as POTUS, and he will certainly be happy to send in the Goon Squad to prove how tough he is. Besides, he owns stock in DAPL.
Another question raised is if these folks are so concerned about their water supply, how come they aren't out protesting the millions of gallons of toxic sludge pumped into rivers every day all over the country? Well, the thing is that is precisely what they are protesting, this particular pipeline is a symbol for that. People have been protesting these pipelines for more than a decade now, but they virtually always get beaten down by the Energy industry and Da Goobermint which backs it up and takes it's orders from Big Money, not the will of the people.
There have been ongoing protests against Environmental Destruction going back at least as far as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, with the heyday of the movement in the 1970s with the first "Earth Day". Environmentalists won a few battles, but mostly only because factories and mining were being shipped offshore to other countries with cheaper labor. With respect to the Energy Industry though, they have mostly lost all the battles, with all the "accidents" like the Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon, and the many pipeline leaks and oil train derailments and leaking ash ponds that occur all the time but generally don't get much new attention.
According to the DAPL press department releases, the pipeline is "safe", and they also are building a new water intake pipeline to serve the reservation, some 70 miles away from the current location. This is a contradiction right off, because if the oil pipeline is truly safe, then why would you need to build a new water intake? It's also ridiculous because in the event of pipeline failure, you have millions of other people living downstream of it, and you can't build new water intakes for all of them. Even if you could, the water source would still be polluted.
It's also ridiculous to claim such a pipeline is "safe", when everybody knows that ALL infrastructure wears out and breaks eventually. How long does a typical car last? Usually 5-10 years MOST before all the piping and systems are breaking down. These companies can always get the upfront money to build them, but they never have enough money to keep them maintained and replace them. So all over the country you have aging pipelines that are starting to crack and leak. There were two in the southeast when I took my trip to the Carolinas for the SUN☼Project. This brand spanking new pipeline might have a low probability of leaking now, but in a few years it would be in the same sad shape as all the rest of our infrastructure, which includes not only the pipelines but the electrical grid and the roads and bridges too.
As we spin down here in the final days of the Age of Oil, people are sick and tired of being steamrolled over, particularly the underclass which never really saw many of the benefits of the industrial economy. Many of them are so impoverished even inside the FSoA they can't even afford a Used Car and the gas it takes to run it, so they don't get that benny. Most of them probably don't grasp that the end of this also means the end of electricity on demand and that food will become a lot more scarce here as the system breaks down. However, the current system is not working for them and never has, and they would like to see it ended.
Although protests like the DAPL may be an increasing feature of life as we move forward in collapse, in the end this is not what will kill the "Black Snake" that is supposed to bring oil from the Dakotas to Illinois, then further on down to refineries in Lousiana and Texas to be turned into gasoline and diesel to keep the Happy Motoring lifestyle going. What will kill it in the end is the economics of it. Industrial society depends on CHEAP oil, and the Oil they can drag out of Bakken Shale deposits does not come cheap. An increasingly impoverished population is not going to be able to afford the Oil fracked up there and ejaculated at the other end to make refined products from it. Besides that, fracked wells deplete rapidly, so there are only at best a few years to get more product up, and that's not enough time to pay off the debt issued out to build the pipeline in the first place, much less to enable continuing maintenance on it. One can only hope the oil stops flowing through it before it starts pouring into the Missouri River.
What we are witnessing here is the Death Throes of a Civilization based on the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels. Through the 250 years or so since it began in Jolly Old England with the invention of the Steam Engine, the promise of a Better Tomorrow for everyone on the planet has been used to keep this system going, making a few people rich beyound measure and a relatively small group of nations in the First World living in comfort. Third World people saw the images from Hollywood and they all aspired to the same thing. Overall though, most of the world never got the bennies provided by industrialization, what they got were jobs at slave wages and their own subsistence farming cultures destroyed by the cheap food coming from industrial farming. Now this is all going away, and all that is left is a disgusting sewer of pollution, which is probably worst in places like India and China, but not all that great in the FSoA either.
The realization is penetrating the minds of all now, and so you begin to see these sort of resistance movements cropping up. The standard political dialogue is breaking down and new war theaters pop up each day, creating still more refugees streaming toward places that are already overcrowded themselves. Goobermints try to maintain control through the use of the force of the Police State, and what is occuring in North Dakota is a prime example of that. While they may succeed with this one, the writing is on the wall and the same type of civil wars you have seen over the last decade in MENA will come to the First World also. Probably Europe before the FSoA, but it will make it here too. There is no Exceptionalism in a Civilization Collapse.
If in this battle the Water Protectors lose and the Energy Profiteers win and they are forced off the land and the pipeline is completed, I believe it will only spawn a larger movement to follow. I also highly doubt that this movement will remain non-violent if the non-violence isn't working to rectify the issues they are protesting.
Dec 5th, 2016 will not be the end of the battle against the Black Snake. It is not even the Beginning of the End. It does mark however, the End of the Beginning.