(The ‘land of the free’?): PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests
Say goodbye to your right to free speech. Say goodbye to your right to protest, or even speak out. Our ‘representatives’ that we elect and pay to be OUR voice are going to make sure that we go to jail (and more) if we get all uppity and even dare trying speaking up for ourselves.
By no stretch of the imagination can this be justified.
PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests
On February 23 of last year, a day when the frozen ground had started to turn to mud, law enforcement officers rolled into the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Donald Trump had been inaugurated a month earlier, and the new president quickly reversed an Obama administration decision to deny Energy Transfer Partners a permit to finish construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.78 billion project running directly under the Missouri River. The water protectors, as protesters called themselves, had been fighting the pipeline since the spring of 2016, concerned that the proposed route cut through ancestral land of spiritual significance, and that a pipeline leak could contaminate the primary water supply to the reservation. The small group who had remained through the bitter winter at Oceti Sakowin had been ordered to leave by February 22nd or face eviction and arrest. Most did; a few dozen remained the following the day, when Humvees with snipers on their roofs rolled into camp, a helicopter buzzing above them.
Photojournalist Tracie Williams, on assignment for the National Press Photographers’ Association, captured some of what happened next. Officers wearing military fatigues walked through the camp with assault rifles and knives, which they used to slice open the skins of teepees. Rain and fat flakes of snow fell against a backdrop of smoke rising from structures that had been set alight in a ceremonial gesture. Moments after clicking through the last two frames on her memory card—of two men in prayer, weapons aimed at their heads—she was arrested. Williams, who had been documenting life at Oceti Sakowin for three weeks leading up to the raid, told officers she was a journalist—and says she’d previously identified herself as a member of the press to representatives of the governor’s office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and let them know that she’d be there, documenting, and obtained a press credential from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department—but they confiscated her equipment as evidence and detained her anyway. Williams was later charged with physical obstruction of government function, a Class A misdemeanor that could result in a year in jail and $3,000 in fines. Her trial is scheduled for June.
An hour after police evicted the last demonstrators from Oceti Sakowin, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed four measures increasing punishments for demonstrators. Among other things, the new laws expanded the definition of criminal trespass, and raised the penalty for a riot conviction. Though the measures were clearly in response to Standing Rock, they also reflected a much broader conservative backlash to direct action—a backlash that resulted in a wave of legislation introduced in states across the US. Overall, according to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, lawmakers in 30 states have introduced 56 bills to restrict public protest since Trump’s election.
This is a battle for a narrative,” said Standing Rock Sioux member and attorney Chase Iron Eyes, when I asked how he felt about activists being referred to as terrorists or “jihadists.” Iron Eyes was arrested during a police raid on another protest camp a few weeks before the eviction of Oceti Sakowin, and charged with a felony for “inciting a riot” as well as criminal trespass. He’s facing five years in prison. Daniel Sheehan, who serves as chief counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Office and is defending Iron Eyes, believes that Iron Eyes was surveilled and selectively prosecuted with felony charges because he was particularly outspoken in his opposition to the pipeline. His name appeared on several intelligence documents prepared by TigerSwan, including one labelling him as one of the “most radical” members of the protest movement.
We are supposed to sit down and shut up and allow corporations to pillage and plunder everything that enhances their bottom line. And not just American corporations, ANY corporations. The NDAPL pipeline is owned by a Canadian corporation. So is the Keystone (which was supposed to run through here but will take a different route). For sport, just imagine how many corporate overlords we would have if the TTP would have passed. And if The Clinton Creature had been elected, I think HER would have gotten it passed long before now.
(Re: The blip about since Trump’s election; Call me crazy but it seems to me that the Obama administration also supported persecuting and prosecuting anyone who objected to the corporate over-reach into our rights and our land. That SOB tried to push the Keystone, TTP, and TTIP down our throats. That guy could have done a lot to protect the American people. He decided to protect his bank account. President Hopey-Changey Transformational Transparency sure gets a pass for his complicity in all this, doesn’t he?)
There’s one more thing in the article that I need to note.
It’s an 8-page letter. It is something that Americans need to read. First, stop and think about what it means to be charged with ‘domestic terrorism. What is ‘domestic terrorism’?
5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
‘Who’ is prosecuted under U.S.C. 231?
(1) Whoever teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm or explosive or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that the same will be unlawfully employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder which may in any way or degree obstruct, delay, or adversely affect commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce or the conduct or performance of any federally protected function; or
(2) Whoever transports or manufactures for transportation in commerce any firearm, or explosive or incendiary device, knowing or having reason to know or intending that the same will be used unlawfully in furtherance of a civil disorder; or
(3) Whoever commits or attempts to commit any act to obstruct, impede, or interfere with any fireman or law enforcement officer lawfully engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties incident to and during the commission of a civil disorder which in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or adversely affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce or the conduct or performance of any federally protected function—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Nothing contained in this section shall make unlawful any act of any law enforcement officer which is performed in the lawful performance of his official duties.
If this unconstitutional bullshit gets passed, we’re ALL eligible for prosecution. The ‘incident to’ part is the hitch in our giddy up.
closely related to; resulting from; likely to happen because of
The company shall have all powers incident to the sale of property.
Oh yes, the ‘letter’. It’s 8 pages long and shows the signatures of all who signed onto this First Amendment rights-crushing corporate whoring.