‘Pipeline Phobia’

‘Standing Rock Aboriginal Protest Leader Advises and Encourages Illegal Anti-pipeline Actions in Canada’:

“There really isn’t much of a border when it comes to these issues…”
{In her speech, she refers to “so-called Canada”…}


“Dozens of people packed a free, public event {Paid for and initiated by U.S.-organized and funded ‘Leadnow’. See below…} Thursday evening in Vancouver to hear about how ‘direct-action’ {‘illegal’} protests have affected the ‘Dakota Access Pipeline’, and whether those tactics might ‘translate’ to ‘Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain project. 

“The event, titled “From Standing Rock to Burnaby Mountain”, was hosted at the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre and was advertised as a forum for citizens to learn about whether ‘direct action’ against fossil-fuel infrastructure is effective.

Photo: CBC
Photo: CBC

“Attendees sat silent as footage from the ‘front lines’ {One of the many military terms used by supposedly-peaceful activists…} of the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protests was played. ‘Unarmed’ protesters {refusing to obey the law…} can be seen being sprayed and arrested by police in violent {because of resistance to legal arrest} altercations. 

“It is very hard for me to watch, but these are my friends”, said Tara Houska. “All that is happening for a pipeline, all this violence and aggression.”

“Houska is Ojibwe from the Couchiching ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 2,049 people} and works as an attorney based in Washington, D.C. {Another ‘Outside’ protester… She was Bernie Sanders ‘Native Advisor’…}. As a leader in the protests against the ‘Dakota Access Pipeline’ {But you’re not from there. How do you get to ‘lead’?}, Houska has been ‘stationed’ {There’s another military term} at Standing Rock since August and has seen first-hand much of the conflict between those for and against the pipeline.

{There is only conflict between those who are against, and the authorities attempting to enforce the law. It’s odd that a lawyer could also be a ‘leader’ of a deliberately-lawbreaking protest…}

PHOTO: Mike McCleary, Bismarck Tribune / Associated Press
PHOTO: Mike McCleary, Bismarck Tribune / Associated Press

“Although it’s not the best thing to see that and it’s very hard and ‘traumatic’ and difficult, it’s also elevated the conversation to an international level”, said Houska. “This is so much more than just Dakota Access, it means ‘indigenous’ {‘Siberian settler’} rights, it means people’s relationship to fossil fuels.” {Says the lawyer who flies around the continent…}

“Houska also noted the importance of care for those taking on the ‘physical and emotional toll’ of ‘standing on the front lines’ {‘deliberately obstructing justice’} of these protests.

“As an organizing tip, having a structure in place to deal with the psychological impacts and ‘trauma’ is really important”, she said, noting many of the protesters, after being treated for their injuries, returned to the protest immediately. “They went right back into it because the pipeline is still being built.”
{The dramatic music swells…}


“The forum comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government decides whether or not to let the $6.8-billion Kinder Morgan ‘Trans Mountain’ pipeline expansion proceed. The expansion to the existing decades-old pipeline would nearly triple the amount of oil being transported from Alberta to a terminal in Burnaby and with it, the number of tankers travelling in southern B.C. waters. That decision is expected by Dec. 19…”

–‘Dakota Access Pipeline protest leader shares tips on stopping Kinder Morgan pipeline’
Stephanie Ip, Vancouver Sun, November 17, 2016
(with files from the ‘Associated Press’ and ‘Canadian Press’)


{VIDEO: http://act.leadnow.ca/dapl-to-km/ (Begins 15 min. in)}

Feature IMAGE: Highway 1806 near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 (James MacPherson – Associated Press


“Can direct action stop new pipelines?” 
asked speaker Jackie DeRoo at the meeting at SFU’s downtown Vancouver campus.

“The answer came from Tara Houska… {Radical B.C. Chief Stewart Phillip also spoke…}.

“There really isn’t much of a border when it comes to these issues … and how we can effectively use direct action to make a difference and make a change”, said Houska.

“Some of the tactics used in North Dakota include camping directly on the planned pipeline route and blocking a train with a pick-up truck…”

–‘Standing Rock pipeline protest leader draws a crowd in Vancouver’,
CBC News, Nov 18, 2016



‘The Hidden Story of Standing Rock’

“The Standing Rock Sioux call this reservation home, and many are not on the frontlines of this months-long, and at times violent, protest…

“No one makes this clearer than Robert Fool Bear Sr., 54, district chairman of Cannon Ball. The town he runs, estimated population of 840, is just a few miles from the action. It’s so close that, given the faceoffs with law enforcement, you have to pass through a police checkpoint to reach it. It’s about time people heard from folks like him, he says.

Fool Bear has had it with the protesters. He says that more than two years ago, when members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could have attended hearings to make their concerns known, they didn’t care. Now, suddenly, the crowds are out of control, and he fears it’s just a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.

“Go down to the camps, he says, and you won’t see many Standing Rock Sioux.

“It irks me. People are here from all over the world”, he says. “If they could come from other planets, I think they would.”

“The presence of all these people has become a downright nuisance to his community, he says. Given the roadblocks, residents of Cannon Ball are often forced to go more than 40 miles out of their way.

“Not long ago, he found three teenage girls from Ontario, Canada, camped out inside his storage shed. A white woman from Spokane, Washington, came to see him for help, saying she’d come here with nothing and her car had broken down. When he was at the casino recently, someone approached him about two young kids who were on their own because their parents had been arrested.

“The situation has dissolved to madness, he says, and he wishes Dave Archambault II, the Standing Rock Sioux chairman, would speak up.

“If he had any balls, he’d tell [the protesters] to go home”, Fool Bear says.

“And he’s not alone in feeling this way. Two women who listen in as he talks keep nodding in agreement, but they don’t want to speak.

“Just look at a recent vote in the community for further proof that Fool Bear’s not the only naysayer. When protest organizers presented a request to build a new winter camp in Cannon Ball earlier this month, his community shot it down.

“Of the 88 people who voted, he says 66 were against the camp, less than 10 were for it and the rest remained undecided…

Canadian aboriginal 'Warrior' Journalist
Canadian aboriginal ‘Warrior’ Journalist

“Ten miles west of the protests, a man who doesn’t want to be named, for fear of retribution, admits he looks forward to the pipeline. It’ll mean fewer trucks barreling down these rural highways and fewer trains flying down the tracks.

“Back at Cannon Ball, however, Carl Bruce, 52, isn’t afraid to say his piece. For this Standing Rock Sioux who has lived his life here, the pipeline doesn’t matter. If it breaks, he says he’d just work around it.

“Oh, hell”, he says. “I can move north of the break and get my water over there.”

“The pipeline is coming, like it or not, he says. The world may watch this ongoing battle and believe it’s a unifying force for his people, but Bruce just shrugs his shoulders and walks away.”

–‘Not all the Standing Rock Sioux are protesting the pipeline’,
Jessica Ravitz, CNN, October 31, 2016


PHOTO: Tom Stromme - The Bismarck Tribune
PHOTO: Tom Stromme – The Bismarck Tribune

Debunking the Protest Lies:



“I must state up front … I am a strong proponent of Native American rights. Too often throughout history America’s early inhabitants have been treated grossly unfairly … and worse.

“My initial reaction to hearing about the Standing Rock/Dakota Access Pipeline protest was to support them. But then, as I always try to do I started researching — trying to verify the truth — separate fact from fiction. And as I researched, I become more and more disappointed by what I learned…”

“In a review of the North Dakota filings — directly relevant to the tribes complaints — we can see a picture of detailed review, extensive input and engagement with various affected parties, and detailed historical, cultural, flora and fauna and other reviews. We can see information on the MANY changes made to the route to accommodate concerns raised in input obtained from those willing to give it…”

“…17 different route adjustments made in response to input received during the input process.”

“We can see the permits allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to use the existing Right of Ways for prior built Southwest Pipeline locations – that show the Dakota Pipeline is making every effort to build on land that had been subject to construction in the past – to minimize impact on undisturbed ground.”

'Peaceful 'Warriors' at Standing Rock
‘Peaceful ‘Warriors’ at Standing Rock

“A very important entry provides information on the procedure put in place during the approval process to address reports of significant cultural, historic, or burial sites and/or artifacts. We learn that a panel is convened immediately upon any such report – composed of members from the ‘North Dakota Intertribal Reinterment Committee’ (NDIRC) – including members from the Sisseton Wahpeton and the Standing Rock tribes, along with members from the ‘State Historical Society of North Dakota’ (SHSND) and the Morton County Sheriffs Department.

“We can see that this process was utilized and does work, contrary to the tribes assertions. When a claim was received on Friday afternoon, August 12, 2016 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement and other parties that possible human remains had been reported, construction was stopped, and the panel members immediately travelled to the site.

“Based on an on-site inspection – the members of the panel found the the area revealed no evidence of human remains, a burial, or other cultural remains. The panel reported their findings by early Friday evening prior – just hours after the claim was originally received.

“The process clearly worked. The Standing Rock tribe is a member of the panel, yet they continue to claim reports of cultural, historic and potential burial sites are not investigated.”

“The federal Court Judge investigated this information and much more in reviewing the tribes claims in support of an injunction stopping construction. And … U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, after an extensive review, denied an attempt by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to halt construction of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline that passes near its reservation in North Dakota.

PHOTO: James MacPherson - Associated Press
PHOTO: James MacPherson – Associated Press

“Judge Boasberg first stated his sympathetic position toward the tribe:

“This Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux. Aware of the indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries, the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care. Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.”

“Key points of the Judge’s 58 page Order and decision:
THE DECISION — The tribe argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers[Corps] had a duty under the National Historic Preservation Act to consult with the tribe before issuing a permit for the pipeline, but the judge wrote that the corps complied with the law. Contrary to the tribe’s assertions that it was left out of the process, the Judge said, the corps has documented dozens of its attempts to engage with Standing Rock officials in consultations to identify historical resources at Lake Oahe and other places covered by the permit. The corps was not required to consider the effects along the entire pipeline route because the corps has jurisdiction only where the route crosses water, he noted.

“Pipeline officials and the Corps gave Standing Rock tribal officials numerous chances to provide input in 2014, but tribal officials failed to participate in those opportunities, the judge wrote. Relations between the tribe and corps didn’t improve in 2015, when tribal officials canceled several meetings, according to the ruling.

“Suffice it to say that the Tribe largely REFUSED to engage in consultations, he wrote. “It chose instead to hold out for more …”

“Ninety-nine percent of the route for the Dakota Access pipeline crosses private land, and 48% of it has already been completed, the ruling noted. The ruling said Dakota Access hired professional archaeologists to survey the entire route through the Dakotas and much of Iowa and Illinois for cultural resources. When the surveys revealed previously unidentified resources, the company changed the route on its own 140 times in North Dakota alone to avoid them, the judge said, and the Corps ordered the company to change the route where it crossed the James River to avoid burial sites there.”



“Canada’s federal government could approve the ‘Kinder Morgan’ pipeline before the end of the year. In the United States, the ‘Dakota Access’ Pipeline faces fierce resistance from ‘indigenous’ {‘Siberian settler’} communities defending land, water, and sacred sites.

“Can ‘direct’ {‘illegal’} action stop these new pipelines? How will fossil fuel companies and governments respond? Join us for a discussion with ‘indigenous’ and community leaders about the implications of direct action on stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure.

‘Confirmed Speakers’
“Tara Houska is Ojibwe from the Couchiching ‘First Nation’. She is a tribal attorney and National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth. In February 2016, Houska was appointed Native American advisor to Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President. Her work is raising the profile of important issues, like the impact of fossil fuel extraction on women, their children and communities and the treatment of ‘indigenous’ people by private companies and police.

“Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is the President of the ‘Union of BC Indian Chiefs’, an organization of ‘First Nations’ that works toward the “implementation, exercise, and recognition” of Aboriginal ‘Rights’ and ‘Title’ and the protection of land and water. The Grand Chief was arrested by the RCMP, along with more than a hundred others, during the 2014 Burnaby Mountain encampment opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline…

“This event takes place on the traditional, ‘unceded’, occupied {by Canadians} ‘territories’ of the ‘s?lil?w?ta??’ (Tsleil-Waututh), ‘Sk?wx?wú7mesh’ (Squamish), and ‘x?m?θk??y??m’ (Musqueam) ‘Nations’.”



The organizers of the event:
“…a Vancouver-based non-profit called ‘Leadnow’.

“As for ‘Leadnow’, it had staff in 11 ridings and teams of volunteers in 45. Leadnow says it mobilized more than a half a million Canadians {to defeat the Conservatives in the last federal election} with 6,000 on-the-ground volunteers. Just for training volunteers, Leadnow says it held 1,400 events. Its strategy was to create blocs of voters, riding by riding, and steer them to vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative.

“Leadnow says it was featured in at least 200 media stories, including a flattering story about Leadnow in a prime piece of international media real estate: the Friday edition of the ‘New York Times’ on the last weekend before the Canadian election. For an organization that has only been around five years, that coverage in the Times was an eye-popping achievement.

“Over the years, Leadnow has become the designated hitter of the ‘Tar’ Sands Campaign’… Leadnow organized protests against ‘Northern Gateway’ in 70 communities and mobilized more than 100,000 people to petition the National Energy Board against ‘Energy East’. In May, Leadnow advertised to hire more staff for its campaign against Kinder Morgan’s ‘Trans Mountain’ pipeline. The group also campaigns against the proposed LNG plants in B.C.

“Leadnow has run at least 50 online petitions, generating more than 1.1 million signatures. Activism against oil and natural gas projects accounts for more of Leadnow’s online campaigning than any other issue. Leadnow claims to have defeated 24 Conservative incumbents. That’s a stretch but in a few ridings, Leadnow may have had an impact. For example, in Manitoba’s Elmwood-Transcona riding, Lawrence Toet, the Conservative incumbent, lost to Daniel Blaikie, the New Democrat candidate, by only 61 votes. With paid staff and 130 volunteers, Leadnow got 1,674 individuals to pledge to vote against Toet. Leadnow reported to ‘Elections Canada’ that it spent $5,194 in this riding, including a mere $1,267 for staff. That figure is surprisingly low given that Leadnow advertised to hire a full-time election organizer for six-months, specifically for Winnipeg.

“As Leadnow’s ‘Flickr’ account shows, for more than a year before the election, Leadnow had paid staff for organizing meetings across Canada—and a lot of purple swag: monogrammed water bottles, bullhorns, clipboards, table cloths, banners, buttons and t-shirts. Leadnow conducted opinion polls in 37 ridings and travelled with professional photographers and videographers. All that costs money.

“To pay for polling, Leadnow raised more than $100,000 from 3,000 donors, it says. But where did Leadnow get the funds to pay for staff? In an interview with ‘The Georgia Straight’ in the fall of 2015, Leadnow said it had “more than 2,000 monthly donors.” Where did they get those donors? ‘Stratcom’, a ‘Tides’-backed, Vancouver-based company, reports that it generated 1,838 monthly donors for Leadnow. In other words, Stratcom generated the equivalent of about 90% of the donors that Leadnow had in the run-up to the 2015 election.

“Leadnow has been funded by Tides, both directly and indirectly, through the ‘Sisu Institute Society’, a low-profile non-profit based in the remote town of Sointula, B.C. Run by Jennifer Lash, Sisu has received more funding from Tides than any other Canadian organization involved in the ‘Tar Sands Campaign’.

“Financial statements provided by Sisu show that it had total revenue of $4.6 million over four years up to 2016. For 2015, Sisu’s revenue totaled $1.9 million. At least $1 million of that (US$795,355) came via Tides in San Francisco.

“Since before the 2015 federal election, Leadnow was asked repeatedly about its funding, for this story. Beyond initial conversations with co-founders Adam Shedletzky and Jamie Biggar, no replies have been received. In the absence of information from Leadnow’s leadership, one can get a sense of the group’s history from publicly available documents and correspondence, including a draft version of Leadnow’s original business plan, e-mails posted to the organization’s Google Group, and job ads for hiring employees.

“Leadnow presents itself as a thoroughly Canadian “youth-led” organization with a modest budget, the brainchild of the two university students, Shedletzky and Biggar. But that is not the whole story.

“Leadnow’s original business plan, written in 2010, included a budget for $16 million over 10 years. Leadnow sought $1.9 million in seed funding and did not expect to be financially self-sustaining until its fourth year, in the fall of 2014. Biggar has said by telephone that Leadnow had seed funding but he won’t say how much or where it’s from.

“By my analysis, at least 18 companies and consultants have provided services to Leadnow. For example, Leadnow’s brand was developed by ‘Junxion Strategy’ and its original website was done by Darryl Manning, a consultant working from Australia. ‘Engaging Networks’, based in Washington, D.C. helped develop Leadnow’s donor base and supported Leadnow’s get-the-vote-out campaign via Twitter during the 2011 federal election.

“Leadnow began with a diverse roster of advisers, including Ben Brandzel, {an American} who has a long history as a director of online campaigns for U.S. President Barack Obama. Brandzel says he came to Canada in 2011 to work with Leadnow, staying at a farmhouse near Toronto and planting tomatoes. In hindsight, what he planted was a lot more than tomatoes. When he helped to launch Leadnow, Brandzel was employed as Director of Strategic Incubation at the ‘Citizen Engagement Laboratory’ (CEL), based in Oakland, California. The CEL refers to itself as “the people behind the people”

“Leadnow is a member of Brandzel’s project at the CEL, the ‘Online Progressive Engagement Network’ (OPEN). Leadnow employees have attended OPEN meetings in New York and London. In January 2016, Leadnow staff attended an OPEN gathering in Australia where the group received an award for helping to defeat the Harper government.

“In June, Leadnow staff again went to Australia, this time to help ‘GetUp!’, another member of OPEN, with its election campaign to defeat the conservative-leaning party. In an email update about OPEN’s work, Brandzel referred to this as “a perfect case study” of what OPEN can do. OPEN has conducted more than 100 staff exchanges, six summits and thousands of virtual conversations, according to its 2015 annual report. How many of those involved Leadnow is an unanswered question.

“According to the job description for his position with the CEL, Brandzel is employed “to advise organizations on every stage of the campaign arc, from big picture strategy and messaging to picking the hot moments”. In that same job description, Brandzel describes OPEN as a business-to-business organization with “a very low public profile”, adding, “this is intentional, as the political implications of an international association can be sensitive in some of the countries in which we work”. In another job ad posted in 2014, Brandzel indicated that he sought to hire staff who could help Leadnow with ads during the 2015 federal election season.

“In his Facebook profile, Brandzel says, perhaps jokingly,

“I can see the Golden Gate [Bridge] from one house and the Washington Monument from the other. And I spend a lot of time interloping in the affairs of foreign nations.”

But interloping in federal elections is no joking matter...

“In OPEN’s annual report for 2015, Brandzel writes,

“We began the year with discussions in London about the rise of right wing populism and xenophobia and the challenge of political organising. We ended the year with campaigns that elicited heartfelt outpourings of welcoming solidarity with refugees, and a Canadian campaign that moved the needle during the national election, contributing greatly to the ousting of the conservative Harper government.”

“Coming from a fiscally-sponsored project of a U.S. ‘charitable’ foundation, that’s quite the admission. U.S. charities are not supposed to influence the outcome of a federal election in a foreign country. Asked to clarify his comment, Brandzel did not reply…

“With the federal election behind it, Leadnow has a new campaign called ‘Vote Better’, aimed at pushing Canada towards replacing the current voting system with proportional representation…”

–‘The Great Green Election Machine’,
VIVIAN KRAUSE, Alberta Oil, October 24, 2016






See also:
‘It’s Not A Movie…’ (Standing Rock Protests):
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