[Pnews] How Police, Private Security, and Energy Companies Are Preparing for a New Pipeline Standoff

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 30 13:10:47 EST 2019


  How Police, Private Security, and Energy Companies Are Preparing for a
  New Pipeline Standoff

Will Parrish <https://theintercept.com/staff/will-parrish/>, Alleen 
Brown <https://theintercept.com/staff/alleenbrown/>- January 30 2019

_Minnesota police have_ spent 18 months preparing for a major standoff 
over Enbridge Line 3, a tar sands oil pipeline that has yet to receive 
the green light to build in the state. Records obtained by The Intercept 
show that law enforcement has engaged in a coordinated effort to 
identify potential anti-pipeline camps and monitor individual 
protesters, repeatedly turning for guidance to the North Dakota 
officials responsible for the militarized response at Standing Rock in 2016.

Enbridge, a Canada-based energy company that claims to own the world’s 
longest fossil fuel transportation network, has labeled Line 3 the 
largest project in its history. If completed, it would replace 1,031 
miles of a corroded existing pipeline that spans from Alberta’s tar 
sands region to refineries and a major shipping terminal in Wisconsin, 
expanding the pipeline’s capacity by hundreds of thousands of barrels 
per day.

The expanded Line 3 would pass through the territories of several Ojibwe 
bands in northern Minnesota, home to sensitive wild rice lakes central 
to the Native communities’ spiritual and physical sustenance. Given that 
tar sands are among the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel sources, Line 
3 opponents underline that the pipeline is exactly the kind of 
infrastructure that must be rapidly phased out to meet scientists’ 
prescriptions for mitigating climate disasters.

The Line 3 documents, which were obtained via freedom of information 
requests, illustrate law enforcement’s anxiety that pipeline opponents 
could galvanize support on a scale similar to the Dakota Access pipeline 
struggle, which drew thousands of protesters to the Standing Rock Sioux 
reservation in southern North Dakota.

A police response like the one in North Dakota is a significant concern 
for Line 3 opponents. At Standing Rock, law enforcement used water 
rubber bullets, armored personnel carriers, and sound cannons 
in an operation that resulted in serious injuries 
Aided by private intelligence and security firms working for the 
pipeline, they gathered information on protesters via aerial 
surveillance, online monitoring, embedded informants, and eavesdropping 
on radio signals. In a time of growing resistance to fossil fuel 
industries, the public-private partnership 
<https://theintercept.com/series/oil-and-water/> served as a chilling 
example of law enforcement agencies acting as bulwarks of the oil industry.

In 2017, Enbridge began construction on the tiny portion of Line 3 that 
cuts into Wisconsin. Local police reports describe two security firms, 
Raven Executive and Security Services and Securitas, keeping tabs on 
protesters and reporting their activities to law enforcement. It was the 
protests in Wisconsin that sparked the multistate coordination led by 
Minnesota. The state’s fusion center developed a reputation as “the 
keepers of information for the Enbridge protests,” as one sheriff’s 
analyst put it, receiving information on Line 3 opponents from police 
departments in at least three states. While fusion centers were 
originally established to facilitate counterterrorism 
intelligence-sharing, they have increasingly played a role in 
monitoring, interpreting, and criminalizing political activity.

Meanwhile, opposition research firms that market their services to 
energy companies have also singled out Line 3 as the next likely 
flashpoint of opposition to a U.S. pipeline project. Executives of the 
public relations firm Off the Record Strategies and the private 
intelligence firm Delve, which the National Sheriffs’ Association 
contracted in 2016 to dig up information on DAPL opponents, gave an 
overview of their work at a pipeline industry conference in 2017. “If 
you look at Line 3, they’re already arresting activists in Minneapolis. 
They’re already doing encampments in Wisconsin,” Delve CEO Jeff 
Berkowitz told conference attendees, according to audio obtained by The 
Intercept. “I think the next one is potentially going to be worse than 

Tribal attorney Tara Houska, who is Ojibwe from the Couchiching First 
Nation and the national campaigns director for Honor the Earth, has been 
deeply involved in organizing against Line 3.

“It’s clear that Enbridge is doing everything they can to have a very 
highly skilled force of security and law enforcement at their fingertips 
to do what they can to stop any resistance to Line 3,” said Houska, who 
also took part in the struggle at Standing Rock. “And if anything, it 
seems like what they’re doing is much more coordinated than what we saw 
in North Dakota.”

      Tipping Off Law Enforcement

As Line 3 construction got underway in Wisconsin, protesters stalled the 
pipeline’s progress by locking themselves to equipment and using 
disabled cars to erect a blockade. Between August and September 2017, 
police arrested at least 13 people. Incident reports turned over by the 
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office show that during this time, Enbridge 
security guards routinely contacted sheriff’s deputies to report the 
activities of pipeline opponents.

In July, a security guard whose LinkedIn page indicated that he worked 
for Raven Executive and Security Services informed a sheriff’s deputy 
that his company “monitors the online activities of the pipeline 
protesters.” Another security officer reported that the company’s 
excavators had mysteriously been moved, then used his audience with the 
sheriff’s office to mention a vague tip about Winona LaDuke, the Ojibwe 
former vice-presidential candidate and a staunch Line 3 opponent. LaDuke 
had been seen in the area recently, the security officer said, and her 
“boyfriend” had been heard stating that he wanted to “do something to 
the pipeline.”

Throughout August, Neo Gabo Benais, who is from Ojibwe country, posted 
the coordinates of Line 3 construction sites on social media and shared 
photos and videos taken from inside the sites. The same month, an 
Enbridge security guard reported to the sheriff’s office that he had 
“posted threatening messages on Facebook.” Another caller identified as 
a Securitas employee said he had been seen “driving slowly around the 
pipeline 3.”

Neo Gabo Benais told The Intercept that in 2002, an Enbridge pipeline 
ruptured near where he lived and fished in Minnesota, spilling 252,000 
gallons of crude into a marsh. “I’m just trying to spend their money 
up,” he said. “It’s really a waste of time, them surveilling me.”

According to its website, Raven is “owned and operated by current and 
former law enforcement professionals.” In 2015, the company launched 
Raven Executive Unmanned Aerial Vehicle services. A filing with Federal 
Aviation Administration indicates that Raven intended to utilize its 
drones to inspect “energy pipelines.”

Securitas is an enormous, publicly traded corporation with operations in 
over 50 countries. It owns the nation’s oldest private security company, 
Pinkerton, which became notorious for its union-breaking activities and 
infiltration of leftist organizations at the turn of the 20th century.

Neither Raven nor Securitas responded to requests for comment. Enbridge 
did not respond to requests for comment.

      “The Keepers of Information”

In September 2017, the Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center emailed 
information about recent arrestees to the fusion centers in their home 
states of Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, and 

The next month, an analyst from the Minnesota Fusion Center pledged to 
ensure that law enforcement in disparate counties would be 
“well-informed of any potential hazards relating to the Line 3 project.” 
In an email sent to the fusion center, a crime analyst from Minnesota’s 
Beltrami County noted, “There is concern about Winona LaDuke.” The 
analyst listed four properties that LaDuke was suspected of owning and 
speculated about which might be used to put up protesters.

Another email sent to the fusion center noted that Jackie Fielder, a San 
Francisco-based organizer with the fossil fuel divestment organization 
Mazaska Talks, had arrived at one of the protest camps in Minnesota. The 
report speculated not on criminal activity but on whether her presence 
could signal “increased support from Mazaska Talks and its connections.”

“A fusion center has no business keeping track of a nonviolent 
divestment campaign that aims to promote Indigenous rights,” Fielder 
told The Intercept.

LaDuke agreed. “I don’t understand why I’m being looked at as a criminal 
when a corporation is proposing to destroy my water,” she said. “I am 
not a criminal, I am a water protector.”

By May 2018, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office had established a 
shared web resource concerning Line 3 opposition, to which 19 police 
officers in eight jurisdictions had access, as well as the fusion center.

“The Minnesota Fusion Center recognizes and values citizens’ 
constitutionally protected rights to speak, assemble, and demonstrate 
peacefully,” Drew Evans, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of 
Criminal Apprehension, said in a statement. “Because public 
demonstrations are sometimes targeted by individuals seeking to commit 
crimes or promote violence, the fusion center routinely monitors public 
sources for potential hazards to the people of Minnesota and its 
critical infrastructure.”

Brendan McQuade, assistant sociology professor at SUNY Cortland and 
author of a forthcoming book on fusion centers, sees the Minnesota 
records as part of a more troubling trend. “What the police aren’t 
mentioning is that people will likely be living lives of terror and 
privation by the end of the century due to climate change, and it’s 
these battles right now that will decide whether that happens,” he 
said. “Instead, they are casting even entirely nonviolent actions as 
threats to so-called critical infrastructure.”

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, left, and Cass County Sheriff 
Paul Laney at the Morton County Courthouse on April 4, 2018, in Mandan, N.D.

Photo: Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP

      Putting “a Marker Down”

As law enforcement and emergency managers tightened their coordination 
and intelligence-sharing on protesters, they repeatedly turned for 
guidance to North Dakota officials who had been involved in repressing 
the Standing Rock fight.

In September 2017, Cody Schulz, then-disaster recovery chief for the 
North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, gave a quasi-scientific 
overview of NoDAPL at a Minnesota emergency managers conference. He 
claimed that at any given time, around 400 protesters at Standing Rock 
were “willing to commit criminal acts,” while 80 were “willing to commit 
dangerous or violent acts.” Other slides attempted to justify the use of 
fire hoses and dogs to quell protests and stressed the need for a robust 
public relations operation.

In late 2017 and early 2018, members of the Cass County Sheriff’s 
Office, a major architect of the DAPL police operation, gave three more 
presentations on lessons learned in North Dakota to law enforcement in 
Wisconsin and Minnesota, including an association of SWAT officers.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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