Roaming Charges: Bull Connor on the High Plains

When they turn the attack dogs on you, you know that you’ve won…morally. Of course, moral victories aren’t worth much in the short term. All too often the price of a moral victory is to lose what you’ve put your life on the line fighting for, if not your life itself.

Such was the appalling scene this week on the plains of North Dakota, when security goons for the Dakota Access pipeline attacked defenseless protesters, many of them members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with dogs, clubs and pepper spray. The local police stood by and watched, egging on the mercenaries. A few days later, the local sheriff, a big oil automaton, would issue warrants for the arrest of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka for vandalizing a bulldozer with spray paint. That’s what passes for justice in the Bakken oil fields.

The sheriff has been peddling outrageous and racist slurs about the protesters “carrying hatchets and knives,” in order to justify his orders to seal off the protest site, conduct warrantless raids and searches at the Sacred Stone Camp and dress up his rent-a-cops with shields, riot gear and high-powered weapons. These tactics seemed to be motivated by a desire to provoke the tribal protesters into a violent defense of their camp. It failed. The war zone is his own creation.

As Sarah Manning reported in chilling detail for Indian Country Today, the pipeline company’s Praetorian (or one should say, Petroleum) Guard was used to shield bulldozers and trenchers as…

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