Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, a group of hundreds of U.S. military veterans, have announced their plan to “deploy” as a unit for a three-day “mission” in early December 2016 to show their support of both the effort to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to stand with the Native Americans in their peaceful protest efforts.
The veterans’ group, who plan to be in North Dakota from Dec. 4 through Dec. 7, 2016, number in the hundreds who plan to attend, understanding it is a peaceful, unarmed protest being waged, led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is headed by Wesley Clark Jr. and Michael A. Wood Jr.
People, including veterans, firefighters, former law enforcement personnel and emergency responders have been encouraged to join the December effort to “assemble as a peaceful, unarmed militia” to defend the water protectors from the assaults of militarized police and pipeline private security forces.
Clark, based in California, is a former Army officer who is now an activist, writer and political commentator, originated the idea of veteran support for the water protectors who are fighting against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Clark is also an opponent of the pipeline that will stretch nearly 1,200 miles when completed, from North Dakota to southern Illinois, with a capacity to transport more than 450,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the fracking fields in the Bakken region.
12/28/2016: Please note that the source link for the following quotes is not longer available:
Explaining his reasoning for supporting Standing Rock and the Native Americans leading the protest against the DAPL, Clark said:
“First Americans have served in the United States Military, defending the soil of our homelands, at a greater percentage than any other group of Americans. There is no other people more deserving of veteran support.”
Wood, a former Marine and a former police officer in Baltimore who retired from the force in 2014 to become an advocate for police reform, said:
“This country is repressing our people. If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things we actually said we were going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.”
The organizers of Veterans Stand for Standing Rock have indicated their willingness to take a bullet, rubber or otherwise, for both a cause they believe in and for the Native Americans and other protesters who have stood bravely against police, who as recently as Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, were assailed by law enforcement with water cannons in below-freezing weather, tear gas, mace, rubber bullets, sting and concussion grenades, according to the protesters.
Twenty-six people in the protest group required emergency treatment off-site after the November 20 incident, including 21-year-old volunteer Sophia Wilansky.
After emergency surgery, it is yet uncertain whether Wilansky’s left arm and hand will be able to be saved. Her father, Wayne Wilansky, described her injuries as the total loss of both her radial and ulnal arteries in her left forearm, all muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist is gone, the radius bone is shattered with a piece of it missing, as well as a piece missing in her medial nerve. The young woman has already undergone multiple surgeries and faces more in efforts to save her arm and hand and restore a portion of its functionality.
Law enforcement shot down drones belonging to the Native Americans and their supporters, leaving only a few random photographers to take photos or videos of the seven-hour long law enforcement assault against the unarmed protesters. Although there were no major media outlets covering the event, law enforcement used their less-than-lethal weapons against independent journalists who were at the scene.
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