For the last year or so the Dakota Access Pipeline was a huge presence on my social media feed.
The Intercept just did an article about the contracted security operations for Energy Transfer Partners. You can read the whole thing here, although it takes a “tone” that I don’t find helpful to understanding the situation: https://theintercept.com/2017/05/27/leaked-documents-reveal-security-firms-counterterrorism-tactics-at-standing-rock-to-defeat-pipeline-insurgencies/
The contractor in question, TigerSwan, is like many other contractors, it popped up in North Carolina. Why North Carolina? Because that is where Fort Bragg happens to be, which is the home to such units as “Delta Force”, 3rd Special Forces Group, the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center (JFKSWC), as well as regular units such as the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Expeditionary), 18th Airborne Corps HQ, and all of the 82nd Airborne Division (with their organic MI and RSTA enablers). In short, a lot of security contractors pop up in North Carolina because there is a lot of talent leaving the military from Fort Bragg (and various other military bases in the state) and the “security” industry is heavily human oriented (both on talent management and threat mitigation).
The “Water Protectors” were made up of mostly non-local radicals from out of state. You know, the same type that hits people with bike locks, or given the history of vandalism against the ETP equipment, the radical “Earth Liberation Front.” In short, given the history of environmental protesting in the United States, and the complete collusion of mainstream media to support the protesters with free propaganda services, it makes complete sense to me that ETP would hire a security firm that had expertise in the following areas:
HUMINT, the art and science of gaining information from human interaction
OSINT, the art and science of gaining information from publically available sources such as social media
All Source Analysis, the art and science of turning the information gathered from various sources into “intelligence” which can drive strategy or operations.
If all of those sound like military occupational specialties, you would be correct. And calling people who left the military and now work as contractors “mercenaries” is a bit of a stretch since there wasn’t any war or battle going on at Standing Rock. I personally think the word “mercenary” is overused and abused by Western media as culturally we’ve associated that word with negativity, and in the case of the “social justice” crowd, with colonialism and/or imperialism. But no matter, trading your expert labor to an employer is called a “job” and whatever else you can say about the Standing Rock protests, at least the TigerSwan employees were “employed.”
So…why am I not offended by a corporation hiring military veterans through a security contractor? Because the other side is funded by a nationwide network of fellow travelers, has the ideological support of most journalists, and the “spontaneous protests” weren’t. The protests were highly organized and funded, which is why the state of South Dakota had to clean up the protest site from over 24 tons of trash this year at a cost of 1 million dollars. http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/feb/15/north-dakota-feds-address-garbage-left-at-pipeline/ If it cost a million to clean up the site, how much did it cost to establish and live in the site? Probably more than a million.
Now, using “counter insurgency techniques” is also perfectly fine by me. This is what 4Chan does when it exposes three key players in the Berkeley AntiFa crowd as the same set who organize protest after protest. In every organization (whether tight or loose affiliated) there are “key players” that do most of the work, because “spontaneous” doesn’t just happen on its own anymore (things like Ferguson or the Rodney King riots not withstanding, those were predictable large scale reactions). So we need to talk about what “counterinsurgency techniques” were being used, and whether or not they broke any laws.
The first technique is to identify your insurgents. No laws broken here. Finding out who is opposing you seems like a logical first step (because it is).
The second technique is to identify your insurgents sources of support. Finding out who is funding/supporting your opposition is also a logical thing to do. That Standing Rock leader David Archambault was the owner of the nearest store for the protesters to purchase food, fuel, and other supplies just has to be a coincidence (see what I did there?).
Once you know who is opposing you, and how they are supported, then you need to figure out how to separate the insurgent from their support. This can be done through various legal means such as making the legal case to shut down a protest site, or arranging for the arrest of protesters who have outstanding arrest warrants, or through discrediting the movement by highlighting their hypocrisy which may erode support for the Patreon and Gofundme accounts that provide nationwide support to the opposition. All of these are completely legal activities, and all of them are “counter insurgency techniques” that governments (from Federal to Local) routinely use to move projects and agendas forward.
Now…lets talk about what “counter insurgency techniques” weren’t used. No “night raids” no “enhanced interrogation” no “cordon and search” no mandatory enrollment into a biometric tracking system… None of those techniques were used, so what are we left with? We are left with a range of activities, all completely legal, which did not violate anyone’s Constitutionally protected civil liberties, that make sense for a corporation to do in order to accomplish their business goals.
Now, if you don’t like the idea of a corporation hiring military veterans as contractors to advance their corporate goals that is fine. Now one says you have to like anything. But I have no sympathy for the protesters, as the “hard left” or “ctrl-left” in America have been idolizing radical change through radical tactics for two generations now. Don’t forget the burning tire barriers and Molatov Cocktails that the DAPL protesters used, that’s crossing the line from “protected free speech” and “peaceful assembly” into dangerously “domestic insurgency” as they tried to stop the lawful activities of other citizens simply because the courts didn’t rule in their favor. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/27/authorities-begin-removal-dakota-access-protest-ca/
Now, if I haven’t made a strong enough case for using appropriate and legal “counter insurgency” techniques, comments are open.