The situation in North Dakota at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline has degenerated into what can now only fairly be described as a war zone.
The escalating assaults on unarmed protesters by heavily armed, fully militarized police units have transformed the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site into a battlefield.
Scores of people have been injured and medics are struggling to evacuate the injured to area medical facilities for treatment. The scene is one of constant clashes and assaults by North Dakota military police attempting to drive Native American protesters away from the pipeline construction site.
A flashpoint on the Backwater Bridge was the scene of an intense six-hour engagement between “Water Defender” protesters and Morton County, North Dakota, sheriff’s personnel. Using military tactics, law enforcement unleashed barrage after barrage of military grade tear gas, rubber bullets, water sprayed from high-pressure hoses in below freezing temperatures, and concussion grenades. According to the ACLU, “News reports confirm more than 300 people have been injured.”
The worst injury reported occurred as a result of a concussion grenade thrown by police directly striking a 21-year-old protester from New York. Sophia Wilansky suffered severe damage to her arm when the grenade detonated in close proximity. The injury caused a compound fracture and extensive damage to muscle, nerve, and bone, resulting certainly in a lifelong disability. Details of the Wilansky incident have gone viral on Twitter.
Officials pin blame for Standing Rock protester’s arm injury
With hostilities and injuries mounting, ‘president’ Obama is taking a disturbingly hands-off approach. In an interview with NowThis News on November 2nd, Obama appeared detached from the severity of the conflict playing out in North Dakota, saying at the time, “We’re going to let it play out for several more weeks.”
Indeed, in several more weeks he will no longer be ‘president’. So it is entirely possible that he intends to take no further action and hand the situation off to President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Leaving behind a raging conflict and … a fitting legacy to his indefensible and disaster-prone energy policy.
What deepens the concern in this conflict is that it hearkens back to the darkest days of America’s past. The sight of white men with weapons attacking Native Americans defending sacred lands is a return to America’s genocide, and Native America’s holocaust.
The oil wars are not “over there” any longer. They are here, and the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation is the first great battlefield. It is that and a resumption of America’s Indian wars.