The corporate media is not reporting this.
That’s no surprise.
Even if they were reporting it, I don’t think most Americans would care.
It’s about Indians, after all.
Standing Rock Stands Against Oil
These are Sioux Indians and they’ve been on that land since at least the 1700s. They’ve been in North America since around 28,000 B.C.
They first got to the Standing Rock Reservation in 1868 when the U.S. government put them there following Red Cloud’s War.
That land was first taken away from them in 1876 when the government wanted that gold-rich land for miners and settlers.
This started the Great Sioux War, one battle of which was Custer’s Last Stand.
You can read the detailed history of all this in my book Braves and Businessmen.
The point is, the Sioux tribes have been displaced from their land several times.
- First they were pushed off so settlers could take over the areas around the Mississippi.
- Next they were pushed off so miners and homesteaders could take over areas around the Black Hills.
- Now they’re being pushed off so the oil companies can take over the areas they need for their pipeline.
That pipeline will run 1,172 miles and it’ll be 30 inches in diameter and 470,000 barrels of oil will run through it each day. That’s Bakken oil, which needs to get to refineries so it can be shipped overseas.
We know that Bakken oil is “more prone to explosion” as it’s “more volatile than most other types of crude,” according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “which correlates to increased ignitability and flammability.”
That’s one of the main arguments to use a pipeline and not oil trains. We know that 1.15 million gallons of oils were spilled by trains in this country in 2013 and in 2014 there were 141 “unintentional releases” of oil from trains, many from derailments.
Why are so many oil train spills happening, especially since we averaged just 25 of them a year between 1975 and 2012?
Most of it involves shoddy infrastructure, outdated train cars, train speed, routes, and the overall design of the tank cars. The Department of Transportation, far from doing anything about this, has dragged their feet.
That’s no surprise, as we know our federal agencies – through revolving door employment and the tendency to put top campaign donors in key positions – are nothing more than another arm of the industries they purport to regulate.
And because of these derailments and the lack of meaningful change from the government, oil pipelines are pushed by the media as a cure-all.
You know full-well from my reporting on the disastrous Yellowstone Oil Pipeline here in Montana that this is not the case.
Back in 1995 Montana’s Salish and Kootenai Indians forced the Yellowstone Pipeline Company to shut down their operations and get off their land.
They did this because the pipeline had 71 leaks on its route between 1954 and 1995. One of those spilled 163,000 gallons of oil.
Those Indians got the pipeline off their land, and the oil companies rerouted it.
Other Montanans would suffer, however. In 2011 the pipeline spilled 63,000 gallons into the Yellowstone River (the company got a $1 million fine) and in 2015 it spilled 50,000 gallons into the same river.
No fine was ever issued for the 2015 spill.
But let’s get back to what’s happening on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation along the North Dakota/South Dakota border.
It all started in April when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation called for an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.
A couple months later in the summer young Indians from the Standing Rock Reservation headed to Washington to file an injunction against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so they’d stop building the pipeline.
They just wanted to protect their water.
In August the first protests started and this resulted in a portion of the pipeline around Cannon Ball, North Dakota, halting production.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Susan Sarandon threw their support behind the protesters, garnering a bit of media attention, but nothing from the corporate behemoths that so often collude with Big Oil to brainwash the American public.
It was on September 3 that the company brought in private security to assault the protesters.
They chose the 153rd anniversary of the White Stone Hill Massacre to do it, an event that saw around 100 women and children killed by the U.S. government.
Why bother counting, if you’re a soldier or officer in the 1860s? They’re just Indians, after all.
Think that was just a coincidence on Saturday, or the sick humor we should expect from oil company executives that laugh when they pollute our water, slap their politician friends on the back when they get puny fines?
We know that dogs and pepper spray were unleashed on the protesters on Saturday, and there’s good video of this.
We know that the security guards that were brought in are not from the area.
We know the 30-year-old woman that bloodied her dog’s nose with Indian blood is actually from Ohio, as per the license plates on the car she was driving.
She can be proud of protecting white heritage for money, as others like her have done before.
We know that she and the other mercenaries were hired by Kelcy Warren, the CEO of DAPL’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners.
He has a net worth of around $3 billion.
Energy Transfer Partners has a stock price of $41.26, up substantially from the February price of $22 a share.
The company has an enterprise value of $50 billion.
According to their balance sheet, the company has $22 billion in revenue and a gross profit of $5 billion. They have $386 million in cash on hand.
The company started in 1995, is based in Dallas, and has 5,000 employees. They have more than 24,000 miles of pipeline across the country.
They’ve also mobilized Indians to such an extent that we haven’t seen a gathering of tribes like this in 100 years.
The reason is simple – the company is trying to destroy their land.
Oh, you won’t hear about that – because these are Indians on oil land, not Indians in Oregon on land that no one cares about.
Remember when the corporate media, including the Montana Democratic mouthpiece, got all excited over the wildlife refuge standoff in Oregon?
A big outcry was over the sacred sites that’d been destroyed by protesters.
When an oil company does the same thing, however, the corporate media remains silent.
They know who pays their bills, they know who donates to the right campaigns.
So they stay silent, and let Indians suffer.
We know that on September 2 Energy Transfer Partners “brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts,” the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said.
So egregious were these violations that a federal judge came to the office on Labor Day and called for an emergency hearing for Thursday at 3 PM, a hearing that is to have members of both parties.
That should be interesting…but don’t expect to hear about it.
The corporate media and the politicians do not care, not one bit.
You can’t really expect Republican governor Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota to give a damn, however.
When paperwork was filed by the tribe with the state to point out that the land was sacred and that there were burial and prayer sites, the state actually gave that information to the pipeline company so they could bulldoze the area sooner and without a lot of pesky media types around.
Why would you?
It doesn’t benefit the ruling oligarchy that controls us, controls what we watch and read and see and do.
How does that benefit them?
How does you knowing about some Indian protests over oil benefit them at all?
And really, how does knowing benefit you?
Do you care…should you care?
I don’t think so.
You’ve got work today, the kids to worry about later, the bills that still need to be paid, and probably that vacation to plan and lots of stuff to buy.
And that, my friends, is exactly what our controlling corporate elite is counting on.
When you’re busy, nothing changes.
So keep on having that nice day.
You know damn well that the Indians a state over from us sure as hell aren’t.
But who cares – they’re just Indians.
Oh, I’m sorry…does that make you mad?
So what? Americans are too fucking lazy to do anything about it. And because we won’t do anything – even raise our voice – nothing will change.
Think anyone in Montana gives a shit, any of our politicians?
Hell, the only time we 'care' about Indians is a month or two before the election when we try to get them to vote.
The rest of the year it’s a big ‘fuck you, take your problems elsewhere.’
Our Montana politicians fall all over themselves to approve pipelines and make it easier for oil to operate in this state.
Our tax system demands it, as we won’t be getting funding from any other major sources besides oil and coal and other resources.
Oh, we could legalize marijuana, but then how would the Republicans in the legislature be able to dictate how people live their lives?
Freedom is important after all, especially the freedom to tell people what they can’t do.
I have absolutely no hope for our nation’s Indians or our environment.
People don’t care about those things and driving their car is more important.
It’s more important that Big Oil and other large companies bribe our politicians with campaign contributions so they can get their way, stop those wind and solar farms.
Clean rivers and a nice place to raise your kids?
Pal, we’ve got elections to win and that takes money. Take your concerns and go home – you don’t have a corporate bank account so you mean nothing.
Indians have been hearing that for centuries.
It won’t change.
We don’t want it to.