Months-long protests against a multi-billion-dollar oil pipeline cutting through land near the water source of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe boiled over on Sunday when the oil company, Dakota Access .LLC, brought snarling dogs and their poorly trained handlers to intimidate and attack protesters even as the company bulldozed land the tribe claims as burial grounds.
In a sign of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Obama administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have now voiced support for an emergency temporary restraining order against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. The Department of Justice told the court that oil company construction near the #NoDAPL resistance camps has been the "subject of several recent confrontations," including one on Saturday in which a pregnant woman and a young girl were injured in a clash with private security guards hired by the oil company and the construction crews working on the pipeline.
The bulldozing of the burial grounds appears to be a deliberate act of provocation by Dakota Access Pipeline. Tim Mentz Sr., the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's former longtime historic preservation officer, stated in a sworn declaration on Sunday that: ""I do not believe that the timing of this construction was an accident or coincidence. Based on my observations, the nearest area of construction in the right of way west of Highway 1806 is around 20 miles away. It appears that DAPL drove the bulldozers approximately 20 miles of uncleared right of way to access the precise area that we surveyed and described in my declaration. The work started very early in the morning and they were accompanied by private security with dogs and with a helicopter overhead, indicating that the work was planned with care and that controversy was expected."
Because everyone now has a video camera on their phone, and Amy Goodman's Democracy Now was there with a film crew, there is no controversy or debate about what happened. These dogs were there to intimidate and attack, they were very poorly trained, and the people associated with them had almost no control over their animals. It was a shit-show from stem to stern.
The pipeline itself is being bankrolled by Energy Transfer, a company owned by Kelcy Warren, a Texas entrepreneur worth $4 billion according to Forbes Magazine.
It is not an accident that vicious dogs are being turned on another American minority group, or that all of the police officers standing by are white.
As I noted more than a year ago in a post entitled America's Dogs of Oppression:
In the U.S., about 2,000 law enforcement agencies have K-9 dog units, but the level of training of both dogs and people is very uneven, and as a consequence handlers and innocent civilians are routinely bitten, driving up liability costs for all taxpayers.
Studies have shown that law enforcement dogs are disproportionately used in inner-city communities, and of course dogs have been used in the torture and intimidation of prisoners, by both the U.S. and other countries, for more than 100 years.
It seems the security company hired to do this attack work was Frost Kennels in Ohio. As professional dog handler Jonni Joyce notes in an interview with Amy Goodman:
What I witnessed on the video was absolutely horrific and a chaotic scene. It appeared that the handlers were not trained properly in order to manage a dog that has been trained in some type of controlled aggression. And basically, what it looked like was a bunch of alligators at the end of leashes being put on the Native Americans there that are protesting. It absolutely was an egregious use of canines.
Frost Kennels and its owner, Bob Frost, are not licensed in the state of Ohio to provide guard or security dog services. They do have the ubiquitous "buy it now" PayPal link that tells you that you are dealing with a quality (:: cough :: cough ::) dog merchant. There is no mention of titles or dog training credentials of any kind that I can see.
Unbelievable. This is a liability case on stilts.