The years-long, Indigenous-led fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) briefly captured the nation’s attention last fall as images of peaceful resisters being sprayed with water canons and surrounded by police in tanks and other military-grade equipment were spread widely, fueling global outrage and a fierce protest movement against the oil pipeline.
Now that the pipeline is operational and already leaking, internal documents obtained by The Intercept and reported on Saturday reveal the deep collusion between local police forces, the pipeline company, and defense contractors as they executed “military-style counterterrorism measures” to suppress the water protectors.
TigerSwan, described as a “shadowy international mercenary and security firm” that “originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror,” was hired by Energy Transfer Partners to spearhead “a multifaceted private security operation characterized by sweeping and invasive surveillance of protesters,” The Intercept wrote.
Reportedly, one of TigerSwan’s contractors leaked 100 internal documents to reporters Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, and Alice Speri, who were able to assemble roughly 1,000 more via public records requests.
The trove paints a damning picture of the police response to the Indigenous-led effort to block construction of the pipeline on sacred, treaty land and is a shocking example of how anti-terrorist rhetoric and tactics could be applied to any uprising the government would like to suppress.
According to the reporting:
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