44 years ago this ExPat fled to Canada in search of emotional, spiritual and political solace following the election of Richard Milhous Nixon as America’s 37th President. The shocking election of Donald Trump, eight Presidents later, has once more thrust into conscious memory the many reasons why this writer chose Canada as the closest, most logical place of safety away from all the crypto-fascism that Richard Nixon and his cronies of budding neo-liberalism first sought to make manifest. Trump’s election simply reveals the advanced degree to which America’s ever-deepening, ever-widening ideological drift in this direction over the years has continued to grow in the minds and hearts of too many of the American people and their one-time democratic way of life to a point now that might be described as dangerously tottering on the verge of becoming a proto-fascist state.
In light of the results of this latest presidential election, this drift in America has been gradually inching ever-closer towards yet another period of disastrous Civil War in its history. This time, instead of the civil war being fought between the ‘Blue Army of The Potomac’ in the North and the ‘Grey Army of The Confederacy’ in the South, it will be fought in every hamlet, city and state between those who live in states that now have been politically re-designated, according to the way they voted, as either being ‘Red’ or ‘Blue’, who adhere to radically different visions for the way each thinks the future of America and the world should look like.
NATIVE AMERICANS ARE A SYMBOL OF DEFIANCE AGAINST TOTALITARIAN OPPRESSION
A line has now been drawn in the sand and a gauntlet cast down with the election of Donald Trump, and those like the Koch Brothers and others of the same persuasion who are rushing to coalesce around him for having pulled off perhaps the biggest corporate coup d’etat of the century, far bigger than the financial crash of 2008, where all the levers and mechanisms of government are now quickly being tripped in their favor. The future rape and pillage of the earth and all its rich resources that this blood-less coup represents, is simply an acceleration of the same neo-liberalism and internal warfare in American society that has been fomenting for years; perhaps, one could even argue, since the nation’s very inception. Unless somehow peacefully resolved, this will only continue to accelerate to the point that brother will end up being pitted against brother and sister against sister until it finally violently rends apart the entire ‘State of the Union’. This war has yet to be fully waged on a grander, nation-wide scale between Corporate America’s Police State and those citizen patriots who are prepared, at all costs, to not allow this ideological slide to continue to happen.
Yet a microcosm of this civil war already can be seen being played out by the terrible ‘David vs Goliath’ reality of what is happening to the Standing Rock Sioux people. With the support of the seven tribes of the Sioux Nation, nearly 300 other indigenous nations and a host of allies from the environmental, labor and civil society movements, the Standing Rock Sioux continue to press their defiant #NODAPL stand against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. They continue to persist in spite of being opposed by Energy Transfer Partners, one of Wall Street’s most powerful investment firms, who count among their investors none other than President-Elect, and America’s new Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump himself who has a significant financial investment in Energy Transfer Partners. This serious conflict of interests, coupled with Trump’s already avowed support for: oil pipelines, the expansion of coal and other fossil fuel industries and his denial of climate change that he refers to as a Chinese Hoax already could be argued are impeachable offenses.
The #NODAPL Sioux Uprising should have been one of the core issues of the 2016 Election because it embodies the great issues of the day that needed to be debated at great length between the candidates but never were for obvious reasons. It isn’t surprising that those who are the deniers of climate change endeavored to avoid putting the issue front and center before the American voter. It’s also not surprising that they also successfully avoided any discussion of the specifics of exactly how, when or even a big IF they ever intend to truly convert America, any day soon, from a fossil-fuel based way of life to one totally reliant on renewable energy systems. Of course this also would have entailed a full-blown debate on how to create such energy systems and, at the same time, create an entire self-sustaining way of life predicated upon the protection and preservation in perpetuity of the clean water, air and earth of America’s ecosystems; all of which would be very costly and bad for the profits and business of all the 1%’ers and those who are more interested in endlessly-expanding the American Empire at the expense of everyone else except themselves.
America’s State, Federal and military authorities have long known that all these issues one day would become volatile to the point that explosive flash points like the #DAPL Uprising would act as the precursors of even more severe social unrest that to quell would require draconian measures of police state violence and the imposition of Martial Law. So for years the authorities have been methodically, calculatingly, cunningly, devising operational contingency plans to quickly and effectively thwart whatever uprisings and revolts like #DAPL will arise.
Yet, in spite of whatever devised plans have been employed by the government of North Dakota, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. military, the Sioux and their allies have continued to stand in solidarity for months despite the militarized police state violence that has and continues to be waged against them, out-of-sight, on the distant, isolated prairie lands and plains of North Dakota where war-like military checkpoints and heavily-armed blockades have since been created to seal off admittance to any and all who are not officially authorized to enter the Dakota Access Pipeline construction zone, as if it were some top secret base, essential to national security. Such are the evolved powers now of Corporate America and Wall Street interests.
HIGH-TECH AMERICAN MILITARY WEAPONRY USED AGAINST CIVILIAN PROTESTORS
U.S. military checkpoints and blockades now are being backed up by a huge over-kill of the latest high-tech U.S. military weaponry. Weaponry such as: MRAP’s (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Armored military fighting vehicles), designed specifically to defend against improvised explosive (IED) attacks and ambushes, as if North Dakota’s farmlands were in Iraq or Afghanistan, now stand at the ready to be used against otherwise peaceful, non-violent, unarmed, prayer groups of Sioux men women, children and elders, shaking nothing more than their sacred rattles or waving eagle feather wands and smudge sticks as they chant. Also standing at the ready are Water Cannons that if used indiscriminately can cause severe injury, such as permanent damage to the eyes and retinas that can lead to complete loss of eyesight, or even death, or death by pneumonia, if used in the freezing winter conditions of North Dakota. Other weaponry overseeing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline includes Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD’s) and ultra-sonic grenades that can injure, incapacitate, or kill protestors. The ultra-high frequency blasts of these weapons are typically used against the teenage youth who are especially susceptible and suffer extreme discomfort whenever employed against them. The bio-effects of these acoustic weapons on the internal organs and central nervous system can cause severe auditory reactions in the inner-ear and cardio-vascular system that can produce hypothermic and tissue-shearing reactions. Tests done on mice have shown significant lung and liver damage, as well, that increases rapidly as intensity is increased.
Other weaponry and ammunition being commonly used against these peaceful Sioux, and even their defenseless, much-beloved horses, include: plastic bullets and bean bag projectiles that can seriously injure or indiscriminately kill whomever they hit. Chemical Mace (tear gas) and Capsicum pepper spray that is also extensively being used against DAPL protestors at dangerously-close ranges is causing among the protestors temporary blindness. When used in large amounts, as is being done, they can have even more dangerous toxic effects. But, of course, no military preparations are too strong or too excessive to be amassed against the Sioux who always have been deemed to be one of America’s most dangerous, much feared wild Indians.
DNA SAMPLES & RETINA BIOMETRICS USED TO CREATE A DATA BASE OF PROTESTORS
Another strategy that has been deviously devised by North Dakota’s state police and its huge entourage of law enforcement pressed into service from at least four surrounding states, along with a mass of activated National Guard troops and U.S. Army personnel dressed in full battle fatigues or riot gear, is to intimidate the protestors by forcing them to give DNA samples, and if they refuse, to then charge them with a felony crime. Such a felony crime punitively requires those so charged to remain in the area, at their own expense and inconvenience, for several months while awaiting a court appearance or suffer an arrest warrant being issued and extradition proceedings undertaken. Yet, when asked, no authorities ever admit to taking such DNA samples from the protestors or why, in the first place, they are creating elaborate DNA profiles and a data base for innocent, non-violent Sioux people and their allies that includes Retina & Iris Biometric identification technology.
According to the law, if an individual isn’t charged with a serious offense they’re not required to ever give samples of their DNA. So State and Federal authorities have cynically made every act around the DAPL construction zone a felony offense which allows the authorities to then use any force that is “reasonable” to obtain the sample. This DNA/Retinal Biometric identification data base is then to be kept forever and can be made available to police, governmental security officials and intelligence agencies around the country. To further harass and dissuade protesters from coming into the area to support the Sioux people, those who are arrested, whether men or women, young or old, are forced to undergo a humiliating strip search and then ordered to squat and cough to, ostensibly, check for hidden objects in their bodies cavities. Imagine such indignities happening to one’s own beloved grandmother, grandfather, mother or father before they then might be shipped off to some far-flung location around the state, kept in solitary confinement or held in animal facilities unfit for humans; their confiscated personal belonging, bedding, eagle feathers, rattles et al commonly dumped along the roadside in some isolated location, left to the vagaries of the harsh North Dakota prairie winter weather.
A MOCKERY OF THE AMERICAN ETHOS & BILL OF RIGHTS
All this is occurring in America – the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave – while few facts about such flagrant Civil-Human-First Amendment right violations aren’t being reported at the levels they should be by the mainstream media. Of course, you know, they’re nothing more than pesky Indians! And pesky Indians are best when they’re kept out of mind and out of sight!
Yet the purpose of a free and independent media in such critical moments of societal tension is one of the chief safeguards and bulwarks of any democracy meant to bear witness and expose whatever gross abuse and injustice from ever continuing to happen. That is the essence that separates free, democratic societies from the barbarity of totalitarian governments and other less humane ways of life. However, in the case of the Sioux, this has primarily been left up to whatever lone freelance journalist or independent/alternative news source makes the supreme effort to document and report. Yet even they have either been prevented from getting too close to observe what is actually occurring around the immediate DAPL construction areas or, if they do, they’re quickly arrested, their camera equipment seized and they’re charged with some trumped up felonious trespass or inciting-a-riot charge simply for trying to document the news as journalists are trained to do.
A PRELUDE TO AMERICA’S NEXT CIVIL WAR
The peaceful #DAPL protests of the Sioux and their allies represents the microcosm of the macrocosm of the coming of America’s eventual full-blown civil war that one day will occur over so many same or similar issues. Eventually, the now already much avowed penchant by the new Trump administration and its proposed Cabinet to use authoritarian Law & Order means to address whatever severe civil unrest or world crisis exists, will, in turn, lead to still more widespread insurrections.
In the end, the more progressive ‘Blue States’ in the Far North or Far West may finally become so fed-up with it all that they will feel they have no other choice but to physically attempt to succeed from the union! Then hold onto your hats! The real fireworks will start!
Irwin Jerome: Author’s Bio Note: During the 1960’s and early 70’s Irwin lived with the Dakota and Lakota peoples on the Crow Creek Sioux & Oglala Sioux Reservations in South Dakota and later published the book, “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com) that documents their historical plight and those of other indigenous peoples on Turtle Island.