USA – ‘Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site’ (Daily Caller, 2016)

By Rachel Dowie (2016-17)

Analysis of ‘Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site’ (The Daily Caller, 2016)

The chosen news report focuses on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project, financed by Texan oil company Energy Transfer Partners. The proposed route plan saw an unprecedented gathering of Native Americans in an attempt to prevent the construction from going ahead. Sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, hundreds of protestors flocked to the affected area which had been left at risk of destruction. Several other camps emerged elsewhere in the region, displaying a diverse mix of Native tribes coming together to protect their indigenous lands from corporate interests – one of which held over a thousand people.[1] The campaign against DAPL extended its reach in the months that followed by receiving global media coverage, widespread solidarity on social media and endorsements from influential celebrities associated with climate change activism (including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Pharrell Williams).[2] However, some had been reluctant to show their support for the activists. Unsurprisingly, staunch pro-pipeline media outlets (funded by other large corporations) laid emphasis on the ‘dangerous’ methods used by the protestors, lacking in understanding and empathy for the cause. Though distant from America’s mainstream news and regarded as the Republican’s answer to the Huffington Post, the Daily Caller’s reference to eco-terrorism stood out as it emphasised the vast extremes in opinion surrounding the DAPL dispute. Law-enforcement officials have even been seen to share this problematic stance on the protest, as expressed clearly in a statement from Bismarck’s Chief of Police: “I believe personally that the name of Standing Rock has really been hijacked at this point in time by lots of activists, eco-terrorists and anti-fossil fuel groups.”[3] Following a brief summary of the article and the act in question, this essay will determine whether the DAPL protestors have been appropriately labelled and suggest how their actions might be better defined, by analysing the group’s motivations, legitimacy and objectives – achieved or otherwise.

Summary

Published on 18th October 2016, journalist Chris White instantly sets the tone of his article on the Daily Caller website entitled “Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site”. Without any explicit justification for the use of the term ‘eco-terrorists’, quotes picked from known pro-pipeline sources (including a spokesperson from Energy Transfer Partners themselves) are used in the article to support its discrediting of the DAPL protest. In addition, not only is there speculation of how much damage had been inflicted on the construction equipment, the reader is also made aware that those responsible for the arson damage are in fact “unknown”[4] with further investigations into the fires needed. Though, exceptions could be made here, since the article had been published only hours after the fires were put out on 17th October – regardless of its political leanings, any news report at that time would be subject to a restricted amount of official information. However, this particular article is laced with a severely biased rhetoric evident throughout and affirms that the pipeline protestors are “likely to blame”.[5] Perhaps intentionally, an account of the event from an activist’s perspective also appears to be missing. Instead, the article trivializes the cause by incorporating remarks from the Assistant Fire Chief who openly condemned the alleged actions of the DAPL protestors, arguing that it was “pretty senseless”[6] and that “they’re not getting back at the pipeline. They’re just hurting the guys trying to make a living and put it in.”[7]

Motives and Legitimacy

This specific incident of arson damage to the Dakota Access company property, described as eco-terrorism by a selected few, followed a long line of mounting tensions between the Native American pipeline protestors and law-enforcement officials patrolling the reservation site. To provide some context; DAPL has been a major source of controversy for the past year as not only does it stretch across sacred Native American lands and burial grounds, it crosses both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers – both of which are a source of clean water supply and commerce for over 18 million Americans.[8] Leaders of the protest movement proclaimed that the company behind Dakota Access (Energy Transfer Partners) had broken many historic treaties signed by the US government which set out to protect the tribes’ sacred lands. Furthermore, the pipeline was also said to be in violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.[9]

On the 25th January 2016, Dakota Access announced they had received a permit approval which brought them one step closer to building the pipeline through to Illinois, set to transport over 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day.[10] However, six months later attorneys of the Standing Rock tribe filed a lawsuit against the US Corps of Army Engineers and Energy Transfer Partners over the permit approval process. The Standing Rock tribe and thousands of Native American supporters criticised the move as local tribal governments had been left out of all negotiations, considering the pipeline’s construction would involve ploughing up their sacred burial ground and risk contaminating their water supply from the Missouri river.[11] Whether it’s protecting land water rights, or simply being sick of the ‘profit over people’ philosophy embodied by such corporations, one activist insisted that “these corporate terrorists need to get the point that people are changing, and we aren’t going to be their sheep for much longer.”[12] From this point of view, in direct contrast to the Daily Caller, it could be argued that the motivations to block the pipeline were entirely reasonable.

In support of the DAPL protestors, scientists argued that the plan lacked a thorough study of the long-term environmental impacts. Over 90 professionals signed a resolution which called for the US government to “give explicit consideration to how this and any other proposed national energy strategies affect public health, environmental justice, and biodiversity conservation.”[13] The legal battle continued until a major turning point on September 9th that provided the Natives with hope, as the US Department for Justice halted the construction of the pipeline until the Army could reach a final decision on the matter. However, by this stage the violence had turned physical as security personnel began responding to the blockade by releasing dogs and pepper spray on the protestors.[14] Further reports of jetting water over protestors in freezing conditions, unnecessary use of physical force and a complete disregard for basic human rights (including illegal arrests and strip searches) triggered a backlash from the United Nations, who officially denounce the actions of state police and privately hired security guards at the Geneva summit in November.[15]

This public backing from scientists and UN officials offers moral justification for the actions of some of the DAPL protestors as retaliation to enduring months of police brutality and “inhumane treatment”.[16] Occupation of the construction site had been carried out peacefully for the most part, albeit illegally. Activists stressed that they intended to stay “unarmed and peaceful” throughout,[17] demonstrating their right to protest by setting up camps and prayer circles rather than deliberately engaging in standoffs with the police – though unfortunately some from the younger generation had been more reluctant to do so. Ironically, actions of the state police (whose job is to protect civilians from violence and chaos) appear to be more suited to the term ‘terrorism’ when looking at the UN’s definition:

“Any action, in addition to actions already specified by the existing conventions on aspects of terrorism, the Geneva Conventions and Security Council resolution 1566 (2004), that is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians and non-combatants, when the purpose of such an act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organisation to do or to abstain from doing any act.”[18]

Whilst the Daily Caller article focuses solely on the damage to expensive building equipment, unlike other media outlets (particularly those on the left of the political spectrum), the numerous incidences of police brutality inflicted on Native Americas residing at the campsites had conveniently gone unmentioned. From this angle, the protestors as the perpetrators of inflicting violence could also be seen as the victims of a much bigger issue than the Daily Caller let on, with the act itself paling in significance to the full timeline of events. It is thus debatable as to whether this criminal damage to Dakota Access pipeline property can be justly described as ‘terrorist’ in nature and should, perhaps more appropriately, be reconsidered as a broader case of political violence. Gus Martin’s work supports this view by distinguishing between terrorists and those committing acts of political violence, stating that: “the terrorist act is different in that the violence employed is not only in pursuit of some long-range political goal but is designed to have far-reaching psychological repercussions on a particular target audience.”[19] There is no concrete evidence to suggest that the protestors were aiming to achieve anything other than their main objective – protecting their land.

Underlying Causes

Possibly enhancing the protestors’ legitimacy, research suggests there are three underlying factors that laid the foundation for this case of political violence in North Dakota: Religion, colonial terrorism and environmental racism. Though more of a secondary cause, religion plays a key role as spirituality is a very important part of Native American culture. As mentioned previously, the intended route for the pipeline required an upheaval of the Sioux tribe’s sacred Stone Camp and burial sites without much consideration for the local communities. From their perspective, “cultural ignorance”[20] heightened stress amongst many Native Americans who claim to have a spiritual connection to the land and water. One member of the Sioux tribe spoke their behalf, stating that “Native people have survived 500 years of atrocity on this continent with the help of prayers, ceremony, and our community.”[21] With that being said, religion only features in this particular case as being under threat, rather than inciting violence “for the greater glory of the faith”[22] that is more associated with incidents of religious terrorism.

This insight into the lives of the perpetrators can provide a much better understanding of the reasons behind the violence, especially when looking at the historic discrimination of Native Americans and its connection to capitalism.[23] Asafa Jalata’s explanation of colonial terrorism (endorsing violence toward communities as a necessary cost of expanding of the capitalist, Western world-economy)[24] draws parallel with the events in North Dakota and highlights the international dimension of the DAPL dispute. Whilst comparatively minor to the suffering experienced by the protestors, the US’ image has been served a huge blow by overseas mass media coverage, with some reports referring to the handling of the marches and peaceful demonstrations as a “complete genocide”[25] of Native Americans. Taking into account the repeated history of Americans objectifying indigenous people and denying them the right to exist freely in their own continent,[26] the Daily Caller article clearly offers a somewhat narrow-minded approach to the protestor’s actions and bears little understanding of the bigger picture.

Reminiscent of other oil companies, Energy Transfer Partners arguably puts its profits before the safety of the public. In a broader sense, DAPL has been highlighted as an example of environmental racism, where some have questioned whether such a project would have been approved in whiter or wealthier communities. Benjamin Chavis first coined the term environmental racism in 1994 by defining it as:

“Environmental racism is racial discrimination in environmental policy-making and enforcement of regulations and laws, the deliberate targeting of communities of color for toxic waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the presence of life-threatening poisons and pollutants for communities of color, and the history of excluding people of color from leadership of the environmental movement.”[27]

Members of the environmental activist group Mounting Justice agree with the use of this term by arguing that such pipelines are built in places likely to have the least amount of resistance to them due to lack of resources: “It doesn’t tend to happen as much in weather, whiter communities. It tends to happen in communities that have a lesser political voice because of how our society is structured.”[28] This critique of the US government and for-profit organisations like Energy Transfer Partners implies that it was morally and politically incorrect for the Daily Caller to label the protestors as ‘eco-terrorists’, given that these indigenous people have long been the real victim of terrorism.

Achievements

From the initial coming together of different Native American communities (some hundreds of miles away), the Standing Rock Sioux tribe received tens of thousands of supporters on the ground and across the world. In an ever-expanding social media network, the hashtag ‘#NODAPL’ trended worldwide for several weeks, attracting an unprecedented amount of support for the environmental protest. Many influential celebrities joined the online resistance and pledged their support for the ‘Rezpect Our Water’ campaign (launched by young members of the Sioux tribe), helping the petition gain over 450,000 signatories.[29] Established human rights charities including Amnesty International also weighed in on the Native American movement, expressing their concerns over the treatment of the protestors and showing how members of the public could get involved with positive action on their websites.[30] As a result, solidarity marches sprung up over America, capturing the attention of the mass media and even the US President. Though perhaps more politically motivated than anything (in light of the 2016 US election), President Obama praised the protestors at his eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference for making their voices heard in standing up for the local community at Standing Rock.[31]

Owing to the sheer volume of support for the protest worldwide (a triumph in itself) and the endorsements from environmental experts and UN officials, on 5th December the activists succeeded in achieving their primary goal of preventing contamination of the Missouri River and destruction of the Sioux tribe’s sacred burial grounds. On this day, the US Corps of Army Engineers overturned their original approval of the pipeline construction and denied permit access to Energy Transfer Partners.[32] Perhaps after being mostly swayed by the presence of war veterans standing in solidarity with the Natives at Standing Rock,[33] this victory for the campaign against DAPL poses the question: Would the cause have won had it not been for the more violent campaigners, boosting media coverage of the protest? Whilst articles like the Daily Caller portrayed all campaigners as ‘eco-terrorists’, when in reality most of them were nonviolent, it’s debatable whether the pipeline access would have been refused had it not been for the protestors putting up more of a physical fight which contributed to the escalation of violence and a drastic spike in mass media coverage. Either way, the DAPL protest would have still achieved putting the basic human right to clean water at centre stage[34] – even if they couldn’t stop the pipeline, the activists declared that “we still won. Because we opened up everybody’s eyes.”[35]

Responses

The state response to the criminal act of arson damage to DAPL property on 17th October was one of force, by deploying a militarised police presence at the campsite in Cannon Ball, inclusive of National Guard troops and Sheriff Officers called in from as far as Wisconsin.[36] That morning, despite Obama’s request for Energy Transfer Partners to consider suspending construction within 20 miles of the Missouri River, Washington Federal Court denied the tribe’s petition to ban the pipeline.[37] With the building work due to resume that day – ironically, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day (more commonly known as Columbus Day) – the activists refused to move from their camps. By the end of the day 27 people had been arrested by baton-wielding officers in riot helmets.[38] With a state economy heavily dependent on oil revenue, the governor of North Dakota, Donald Trump adviser Jack Dalrymple (who wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency) and other elected officials backed the arrests. However, among those who were handcuffed was actress Shailene Woodley, who live-streamed the moment on social media which unsurprisingly attracted a lot of attention from spectators elsewhere in the US and overseas. Needless to say, this put the state’s response in a bad light.

These excessive measures taken by state police are an example of big businesses manipulating the actions of the US government in order to continue making profits, at the expense of indigenous people and the climate. North Dakota in particular has experienced a surge in such economically and politically influenced activity by state actors, whereby responses to similar events have mainly derived from the interests of stakeholders in the oil industry (including key politicians).[39] This observation relates to Elite theory, which explains how liberal democracy works in countries like the US rather than how it should work – in the case of the response to the DAPL protest, where basic human rights were abused for many of the campaigners, core democratic values of liberty, equality and justice evidently only apply to some and not all.[40] In terms of the future, as the DAPL protest had only recently drawn to a close following the US Army’s rejection of Energy Transfer Partner’s key permit in December, there ceases to be any clear indication of the state’s plan to minimise the risk of repeat occurrences whereby protestors (allegedly) engage in riots and vandalise property.

Appropriateness of Media

In relation to the chosen report, there is a clear bias toward the advocates of DAPL from the Daily Caller. Going back to a previous argument, due to its political leaning (on the right of the Republican party) the publication is more likely to be sympathetic toward corporations like Energy Transfer Partners and less inclined to show any compassion for green activism that those sitting on the opposite end of the spectrum. Many pro-pipeline/anti-Native American US media outlets also tend to be funded by such corporations,[41] adding to the unreliable nature of this report in terms of providing an impartial account of the events on 17th October. The use of the term ‘eco-terrorism’ feels grossly inappropriate here as it fuelled the rhetoric of local radio hosts at the time, stirring up anger amongst the non-Native American public in the surrounding area whose livelihoods had been affected by the influx of protestors.[42] Though there is currently limited academic debate on the topic, the examples used in Sean Egan’s analysis of eco-terrorism coincide with the view that whilst there are similarities in the moral justifications for their actions, the tactics employed by DAPL protestors make them ill-fitted in this category.[43]

More left-wing, pro-environment media news outlets on the other hand, reporting within and outside of the states (i.e. the Huffington Post and the Guardian) could be deemed more appropriate in offering their readers an informative and rounded view of the protest, as they tend to provide more context by covering the background to the Native American movement. For example, there is an array of articles on DAPL available on the Guardian’s website which are written both at the time of breaking news (i.e. announcing the victory for the protestors on December 5th) and with hindsight, where correspondents have interviewed some of the activists themselves. However, as pointed out by alternative news outlet Aljazeera, these news sources are also at fault of providing inappropriate coverage of the protest, as Native American issues only appear to be worth reporting in the mass media “when natives with painted faces and horses are around.”[44] In other words, if the scene hadn’t played out like “a revisionist western movie”[45] it’s doubtful whether this would have been of as much interest to the likes of the Guardian, whose main initiative is to sell stories.

Conclusion

In light of this overall analysis, the individual act of arson, reportedly committed by the Native American DAPL protestors, could be morally justified as a means of bringing about positive change in an unparalleled battle against corporate giant Energy Transfer Partners. After looking at the political and historic background to their resistance to the crude oil pipeline construction, actions of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe members are a perfect example of environmental activism as opposed to eco-terrorism, as inappropriately labelled by the Daily Caller and a handful of local non-Native Americans (who for different reasons, i.e. job stress as part of the North Dakota police or fire department, have been unsympathetic to the cause). The protest began peacefully and remained as such for many of the protestors who did not resort to violence, despite being faced with regular injustices from state officials and privately hired security personnel. The article does, however, provide some use in that it highlights the importance of the media in contributing to warped perception of terrorists’ characteristics. In critiquing the use of the term ‘terrorist’ by this hostile news report, research into the underlying causes signified that this may be more appropriately viewed as a case of colonial terrorism (as a branch of state terrorism) and environmental racism inflicted on the indigenous people of North Dakota. As such, this ultimately calls for a tougher regulation of large for-profit corporations in order to prevent another incidence like this from reoccurring. Consequently, this essay concludes with the judgement that this act of violence sits firmly within a broader category of political violence and should by no means be labelled as terrorism.

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Robyn Beck. “Guards accused of unleashing dogs, pepper-spraying oil pipeline protesters.” Accessed January 11, 2017. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dakota-access-pipeline-protest-turns-violent-in-north-dakota/

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Endnotes

[1] “Dakota Access pipeline: the who, what and why of the Standing Rock protests,” Sam Levin, accessed January 6, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/03/north-dakota-access-oil-pipeline-protests-explainer

[2] “These Celebrities Take a Stand Against Dakota Access Pipeline,” Lorraine Chow, accessed January 6, 2017, http://www.ecowatch.com/justice-league-dakota-access-pipeline-2000093607.html

[3] “North Dakota pipeline protest: Bismarck-Mandan divided over out-of-towners,” Angela Johnston, accessed January 9, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/standing-rock-north-dakota-sunday-1.3880726

[4] “Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site,” Chris White, accessed January 9, 2017, http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/18/eco-terrorists-suspected-of-causing-2-million-in-arson-damage-at-dakota-pipeline-site/

[5] “Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site,” Chris White, accessed January 9, 2017, http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/18/eco-terrorists-suspected-of-causing-2-million-in-arson-damage-at-dakota-pipeline-site/

[6] “Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site,” Chris White, accessed January 9, 2017, http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/18/eco-terrorists-suspected-of-causing-2-million-in-arson-damage-at-dakota-pipeline-site/

[7] “Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site,” Chris White, accessed January 9, 2017, http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/18/eco-terrorists-suspected-of-causing-2-million-in-arson-damage-at-dakota-pipeline-site/

[8] “Mississippi River Facts,” National Park Service, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.nps.gov/miss/riverfacts.htm

[9] “Statement from the Chair,” United Nations, accessed January 9, 2017, https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/news/2016/11/statement-from-the-chair-and-pfii-members-dalee-dorough-and-chief-edward-john-on-the-dakota-access-pipeline/

[10] “Timeline of the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests,” ABC News, accessed January 6, 2017, http://abcnews.go.com/US/timeline-dakota-access-pipeline-protests/story?id=43131355

[11] “Dakota Access pipeline: the who, what and why of the Standing Rock protests,” Sam Levin, accessed January 6, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/03/north-dakota-access-oil-pipeline-protests-explainer

[12] “We opened eyes: at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history,” Joe Whittle, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/standing-rock-indigenous-people-history-north-dakota-access-pipeline-protest

[13] Jennifer Sills, “Scientists stand with Standing Rock,” Science 353, no. 6307 (2016): 1506.

[14] “Guards accused of unleashing dogs, pepper-spraying oil pipeline protesters,” Robyn Beck, accessed January 11, 2017, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dakota-access-pipeline-protest-turns-violent-in-north-dakota/

[15] “Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert,” United Nations, accessed January 11, 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20868&LangID=E

[16] “Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert,” United Nations, accessed January 11, 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20868&LangID=E

[17] “Dakota Access pipeline: the who, what and why of the Standing Rock protests,” Sam Levin, accessed January 6, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/03/north-dakota-access-oil-pipeline-protests-explainer

[18] “Defining terrorism,” United Nations, accessed January 10, 2017, http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/terrorism/sg%20high-level%20panel%20report-terrorism.htm

[19] Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues (London: Sage, 2010), 81.

[20] “We opened eyes: at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history,” Joe Whittle, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/standing-rock-indigenous-people-history-north-dakota-access-pipeline-protest

[21] “We opened eyes: at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history,” Joe Whittle, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/standing-rock-indigenous-people-history-north-dakota-access-pipeline-protest

[22] Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues (London: Sage, 2010), 46.

[23] Asafa Jalata, Phases of Terrorism in the Age of Globalization, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016): 49.

[24] Asafa Jalata, Phases of Terrorism in the Age of Globalization, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016): 49.

[25] “Dakota Access pipeline: Native Americans allege cruel treatment,” Sam Levin, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/29/dakota-access-pipeline-native-american-protesters

[26] Asafa Jalata, Phases of Terrorism in the Age of Globalization, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016): 49.

[27] Ryan Holifield, “Defining Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism,” Urban Geography 22, no. 1 (2001): 83.

[28] “The Fight Against the North Dakota Access Pipeline Isn’t Done,” War News Radio, last modified September 28, 2016, http://triceratops.brynmawr.edu/dspace/handle/10066/18931

[29] “Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Change.org, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.change.org/p/jo-ellen-darcy-stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline

[30] “Standing Rock,” Amnesty International, accessed January 11, 2017, http://www.amnestyusa.org/features/standing-rock-0

[31] “President Obama Tells Standing Rock Demonstrators: ‘You’re Making Your Voice Heard’,” Catherine Thorbecke, accessed January 10, 2017, http://abcnews.go.com/US/president-obama-tells-standing-rock-demonstrators-youre-making/story?id=42361295

[32] “Standing Rock victory: Native American tribes and environmental protestors celebrate as Dakota Access oil pipeline permit is rejected,” Telegraph, accessed January 9, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/04/permit-dakota-access-oil-pipeline-rejected-victory-tribe-protesters/

[33] “2016 Accomplishments”, Veterans for Peace, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.veteransforpeace.org/our-work/2016-accomplishments/

[34] “Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Put Right to Water at Center Stage,” Antonio Ginatta, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/02/dakota-access-pipeline-protests-put-right-water-center-stage

[35] “We opened eyes: at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history,” Joe Whittle, accessed January 11, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/standing-rock-indigenous-people-history-north-dakota-access-pipeline-protest

[36] “Dakota pipeline protesters confront the ‘black snake’: ‘We’re living by the fire’,” Sandy Tolan, accessed January 10, 2017, http://www.salon.com/2016/10/18/dakota-pipeline-protesters-confront-the-black-snake-were-living-by-the-fire/

[37] “Dakota pipeline protesters confront the ‘black snake’: ‘We’re living by the fire’,” Sandy Tolan, accessed January 10, 2017, http://www.salon.com/2016/10/18/dakota-pipeline-protesters-confront-the-black-snake-were-living-by-the-fire/

[38] “Dakota pipeline protesters confront the ‘black snake’: ‘We’re living by the fire’,” Sandy Tolan, accessed January 10, 2017, http://www.salon.com/2016/10/18/dakota-pipeline-protesters-confront-the-black-snake-were-living-by-the-fire/

[39] Hilary Merrideth, “Oil and Politics in North Dakota,” Virginia Tech Masters Theses (2016): 2.

[40] Hilary Merrideth, “Oil and Politics in North Dakota,” Virginia Tech Masters Theses (2016): 19.

[41] Stuart Munckton, “United States: Dakota access pipeline struggle: Native Americans versus fossil fuels,” Green Left Weekly 1111 (2016): 20.

[42] “Dakota pipeline protesters confront the ‘black snake’: ‘We’re living by the fire’,” Sandy Tolan, accessed January 10, 2017, http://www.salon.com/2016/10/18/dakota-pipeline-protesters-confront-the-black-snake-were-living-by-the-fire/

[43] Sean Eagan, “From spikes to bombs: The rise of eco-terrorism,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 19, no. 1 (1996): 1.

[44] “How media did and did not report on Standing Rock,” Tristan Ahtone, accessed January 11, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/12/media-report-standing-rock-161214101627199.html

[45] “How media did and did not report on Standing Rock,” Tristan Ahtone, accessed January 11, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/12/media-report-standing-rock-161214101627199.html

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One thought on “USA – ‘Eco-Terrorists Suspected of Causing $2 Million in Arson Damage at Dakota Pipeline Site’ (Daily Caller, 2016)

  1. This is an excellent essay which demonstrates very good understanding of the case study and perceptive critical thinking. It builds on a wide range of relevant sources which it deploys well. It is very well structured, very well written, and very well referenced.

    At the same time, some of the essay’s arguments could be developed a little further. In particular, it could have discussed the labelling of the incident in a little more depth: if not eco-terrorism, then what? How important is ‘violence’ against property in most definitions of terrorism? And in the author’s view? Also, what damage did the ‘eco-terrorists’ actually inflict? Was there actual arson? Could it have been more dangerous (could it have ended up causing death)? Who did it and why? How did most of the protestors respond to that specific issue, i.e. how did the ‘violent’ and non-violent wings respond to one another?

    Apart from that, there are a few minor infelicities in punctuation and spelling, and in the referencing.

    Nevertheless, on the whole, this is an excellent analysis, reflecting originality, insight and mastery of the topic, demonstrating critical enough reading of a wide range of texts, built on independent research, and putting forth a persuasively articulated argument.

    Like

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