US domestic forces using both lethal and pain-inducing weaponry to guard the expansion of the Dakota access oil pipeline denied to NBC the use of fire-hoses (The Guardian has called them ‘water cannons’) against civilians last night. However, many live-streams and videos of the event captured US militants dousing civilian water-protectors, spraying them directly in their bodies and heads and generally drenching crowds.
A spokesman for the militants then said they were only trying to put out fires started by the protectors, but numerous videos (here militants chase civilians with streams of water) have exposed that too as a lie, casting doubt on a number of other dubious claims made by the state extremists.
While militants may also have been trying to put out fires started by the protectors, those fires – campfires – were being used to try to help warm up drenched civilians at risk of hypothermia and shock. NBC notes temperatures were as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Water in nearby shallow riverbeds was frozen, and icicles can be seen hanging from razor wire installed by state forces.
Fires not started by the protectors for warmth appear, on video, to have been started by the militants, who repeatedly fired flaming, rocket-like projectiles (also see video here) at civilians (pictures of shells here). Some of the flaming projectiles appeared to fly hundreds of feet and start brush-fires, which protectors then extinguished.
The militants also used lethal weapons to threaten civilians on behalf of the pipeline, and deployed other potentially lethal, pain-inducing devices, such as bullets coated in rubber, sound cannons, and harsh chemical gasses and sprays, resulting in some 300 people being injured, some severely, according to reports and pictures.
The United Nations recently called for a halt to the construction of the pipeline and condemned the US’s “excessive” and “militarized” violence against indigenous-led civilians acting in accordance with UN directives. Amnesty International, the ACLU, the Lawyers Guild and others have also condemned the use of force by US state extremists.
US militant spokesmen who have said they are concerned about the health of the campers in the winter weather undermined their sentiments last night with their attempt to induce hypothermia (and possibly death) and cause other injuries as protectors tried to clear militant barricades that are blocking the road and slowing access to medical assistance for the camps. However, if legitimately concerned, militants are still free to donate portions of their salaries to help campers continue to winterize. (One militant noted in an internal email that his wages will “ultimately be paid by the oil people”.)
US militants can also better prove their concerns about peoples’ health by refusing to act as the tip of the spear for a fossil fuel extraction project that will hasten the effects of climate change and which has been condemned by the United Nations and rejected by the nearby white-majority city of Bismarck as a health hazard.
Robert J. Barsocchini is an independent researcher and reporter who focuses on global force dynamics and has served as a cross-cultural intermediary for the film and Television industry. His work has been cited, published, or followed by numerous professors, economists, lawyers, military and intelligence veterans, and journalists. Updates on Twitter.