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Veterans’ group criticizes vets, including U.S. Rep. Gabbard, joining pipeline protest

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS Demonstrators sit on a closed bridge across from police protecting the Dakota Access oil pipeline site next to the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the pipeline near Cannon Ball, N.D., Wednesday.

FARGO, N.D. >> Some military veterans in North Dakota disagree with the 2,000 veterans, including U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabard, planning to join a protest opposing the four-state, $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline.

The North Dakota Veterans Coordinating Council has sent a letter to the “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock” group asking them not go to the southern part of the state where hundreds are camped out because it’ll create more tension and increase the burden on law enforcement, council president Russ Stabler said today.

The council doesn’t an opinion about the pipeline, which is mostly complete aside from a portion on federal land under a Missouri River reservoir that’s been held up, and supports anyone who wants to protest peacefully. But, he said, the demonstrations have not been conducted in “the military manner in which our veterans behave.”

He believes the veterans coming to Standing Rock have been misinformed and should not be supporting a movement that has “broken laws, destroyed property and attacked law enforcement.”

But, he said, “They intend on coming anyhow.”

(The veterans opposed to the pipeline include Gabbard, a Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, who spoke on the House floor today to urge President Obama to block the pipeline.

“This weekend I’m joining thousands of veterans from across the country at Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters. Together we call on President Obama to immediately halt the construction of this pipeline, respect the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, and respect their right to clean water. The truth is, whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, the lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, or the threat posed to a major Hawaii aquifer by the Red Hill fuel leak, each example underscores the vital importance of protecting our water resources,” Gabbard said.)

There are a “lot of different emotions and opinions” about the protest, and the veterans from across the country aren’t going to be swayed by the letter from Stabler, Veterans Stand for Standing Rock spokeswoman Ashleigh Jennifer Parker said.

“Our mission is to go and ask and offer if we can help and support the tribes that are already there,” the Coast Guard veteran said. “Obviously there could be groups that say some negative things, but we’re going to march forward without them.”

Veterans Stand for Standing Rock plans to arrive at the reservation Sunday and stay for four days. Much of the trip will be funded through a page; as of Thursday afternoon had raised nearly $780,000 of its $1 million goal.

The main protest camp, Oceti Sakowin, has grown significantly since the summer and is on federal land. Citing cold temperatures and wintry weather, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said all federal lands north of the Cannonball River — the camp included — will be closed to public access on Monday and Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued a mandatory evacuation of the camp, though both have said that protesters will not be forcibly removed.

Police have made about 575 arrests since August during clashes along the pipeline route and in a couple North Dakota cities. Protesters have complained about excessive force by law enforcement, including the use of water hoses during last month’s confrontation in 30-degree weather. Another protester suffered a serious arm injury during that altercation, although it’s not clear what caused the blast.

Stabler is especially upset that the vets’ protest is slated to culminate on the anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

“It is an insult to the remaining World War II veterans from North Dakota,” said Stabler, whose group represents more than 55,000 North Dakota veterans who are members of the American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Veteran of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America.

Also Thursday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has been in charge of much of the law enforcement’s response to protesters, released a video of a veteran who is critical of the Veterans Stand for Standing Rock.

Raymond Morrell, a U.S. Marine veteran, wants to know why veterans who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution would participate in what he considers an unlawful protest.

“Veterans within the state North Dakota, we really question that as to where their cause truly is,” he said.

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      • Sad to see U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabard trying to save her failing political career. Acting like a butterfly jumping from one failing event to another, never understanding she is failing to lead by example, her tinfoil hat on way too tight.

        What an utter disgrace to the Nei. She needs to women up on her willful failures and resign now.

        • You sound like an establishment Democrat who is bitter they lost the election. Should’ve voted for Bernie.

      • Read recently the pipeline is on private lands not Indian reservations. The pipeline also is nearly complete and is constructed directly above an underground gas pipeline.

        • The land is part of the treaty and was taken without due process in the 70’s when the Army Corps of Engineers did flood control projects.

        • The pipeline threatens the sole source of water for the Sioux tribe, along with the water for millions of people in 4 states. The pipeline was originally supposed to go north of Bismarck, but due to concerns about contaminating the water supply, it was routed to go over the Sioux tribe’s water supply! That is just W-R-O-N-G. The Native American tribes have been mistreated in this country for far too long. Now the powers that be are handing over Native American land and water to a greedy oil company that has one of the worst records in the industry for deaths, spills, environmental disasters, etc.

        • Way too many utter rookie posters making shibai comments, no credible reference links to back them up.

          No better than the lolo protesters. Really sad.

    • like trump? I support our congresswoman standing with the Indian people trying to conserve their fresh water. Pipeline is not needed, we have enough oil in the US and dont need Canada’s. If anything the pipeline should go trough Canada and export out of Toronto.

      • IRT Hywnsyt1, Rep. Gabbard and the veterans (not informed) has picked the wrong battle on this issue (the North Dakota Access pipeline). Also, the pipeline is not located in the property of the Tribal lands and will not impact their domestic water. And, as posted by Palani, it’s not the Keystone Pipeline.

        • You are wrong. According to Business Insider, “‘They are there because the proposed pipeline would pass through North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, a burial site sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux and a major source of drinking water for the community. “The main reason it’s such a big deal here is that it’s going to affect our water supply,” Aries Yumul, an assistant principal at North Dakota’s Todd County School District and a self-identified water protector with the Oceti Sakowin, the proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux, told Business Insider.’ Should the pipeline leak or burst, the impact could be devastating.”

        • IRT AnyWay, did you check out the distance between the Lake Oahe and the pipeline at the closest point? It’s over 20 miles, similar to the distance between Windward Mall in Kaneohe and the New Mall in Kapolei. And, to add to that, the civil engineering of the pipeline protects the Lake. Again, “Fake News” make the headlines. Is our media getting lazy and printing 3rd party verbal reports without verification?

    • I feel like people in North Dakota actually support the pipeline, but people who don’t even live in the State are going over there and camping out and causing a nuisance for the people who actually live there.

      It would be like a ton of people from the mainland coming down to Hawaii and setting up camp in Downtown Honolulu near the State Capitol to protest the TMT. It would be disruptive and terrible for the people who actually live here and have a stake in the telescope being built.

      • Oh, you feel like the “people in North Dakota actually support the pipeline”? You mean the white folk, many of whom work in the gas and oil industry and have no regard for the Native Americans or a water source, because they buy bottled water in bulk at Walmart? What an astute and relevant observation! The point is disruption. The point is the Native American tribes there are small in numbers and resources, which is why it is crucial that they get help from others. Did you think it was pointless for white people to march with blacks for civil rights? Helping others without the goal of personal gain is this little thing we call being a good person.

        • @Cricket_Amos Sorry that your manini mind can’t separate fact from racism. It’s a fact that the population of North Dakota is primarily white. In fact, it’s about 90% white.

  • Americas Leaders must WAKE UP, the native people were here first….bottom line, they are masters of GREEN LIVING and TAKING CARE OF RESOURCES, I am glad that Gabbard has joined this protest. Native people are often cast aside and told they need to turn the other cheek, move on and forget the past. If that is so why do we teach history in school, dont forget the history being taught is wrong and not accurate. Example #1 Thanksgiving, the native indians did not have that so called meal with the pilgrims, thanksgiving dinners were a celebration dinner when a tribe or village was wiped out. Remember the native People were not lost, it was Europeans who were lost, the same can be said of Hawaii and how the native Hawaiian have lost everything …… #nuffsaid

      • Is this a national or local issue? If a local issue, she should get involved only if asked by local representatives. If this is a national issue, then okay for her to protest AFTER she has taken care of her constitutents (us).

        • Two bills to support Veterans just passed – one concerning jobs, the other healthcare, and they affect Veterans in Hawaii. It’s her weekend to do as she pleases. She chose to stand for water protection, just like she’s doing here in Hawaii with Red Hill.

  • Does she have any idea how modern economies are fueled, and how important to our national security Energy Independence would be?
    Showing her cult like tendencies again

  • Sorry to say it looks like Gabbard is getting as nutty as her father. I’m sorry I voted for her and won’t do it again. She should be worry about Hawaii first.

  • The social media and msm activity is coordinated by Earth Justice, which has HQ in SFO but also has a branch in Hono. It is the attorney of record for the Makua Valley matter. It is also involved with the state of Hawaii acting as the OHA, representing the Hawaiian group of the citizenry, at the Mauna Kea protest. Tulsi has a lot to gain in terms of identifying with the millenials who respond to rock and roll and saving the environment. This has more to do with water than with tribes. Oil versus indigenous populations is a recipe for conflict world wide. Earth Justice meanwhile refuses to represent native Hawaiians in any dispute with the state. Meaning they need the state’s good will and Tulsi is the state.

    • Right, shipping in Gulf oil saves the environment. This pipeline replaces trucking and rail which are much more environmentally dangerous. Hope Tusli has insulated undies because it can get to 20 below zero out there.

      • The battle is between pipes , clean , few moving parts and few accident AND the famous progressive supporting money man Warren Buffet who also owns the railroads that are now carrying the oil and blowing soot into the air and off the bridges into the rivers.

        But Gabbard isn’t going to tell us that part. Like I said earlier , it is really too bad , cuz I had hopes for her. I guess it is true , ” The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

      • Our country should be investing in clean, renewable energy not building more and more dirty pipelines that threaten millions of people’s water supply. With the incredible technological advances made over the past 50 years, there is no excuse for continued dependence on oil, which fuels that world’s instability.

  • This just more grand standing! Priming her way to her 2020 election bid! You know if Hillary runs again,she’s not going to pick Tulsi Gabbard as a running mate.And Colonel Sander? Has proven to be disloyal to his supporters,by throwing them under the bus!
    It’s not like we don’t have problems of our OWN on these Islands! And now,Aunty Tulsi has to Mahaoi into other peoples Issues?
    My Suggestion?
    Eh Tita Tulsi get your Okulele back Home and do your Job,the job the people of Hawaii elected you to do. I’m sure ND has their own representative to deal with their own issue. Do your JOB ! IMUA

    • Her job in the government is to stand up for what’s best not only for Hawaii but for the country.

      If she were to come back to Hawaii to help our islands, what would you have her do? If you want job creation, infrastructure improvements, better education for our children, etc. that would the responsibility of our state and county officials.

    • Hillary is a two-time loser; once to Obama and now to Trump. She runs again and the Demo party puts the fix in again so she is the nominee in 2020, garans, Trump will get a 2nd term.

    • Hillary will not run again. She’s done. She’ll turn her attention to The Clinton Money Collection Agency and try to make good on some of the promises to the donors who gave her the BIG BUCK$$. She and Bill still have a lot of connections so she’ll be busy.

  • Not a good decision on Tulsi’s part in joining the protest. Our country needs energy independence from the Middle East where they hate the West and use the money we give them
    for their oil to support islamic jihadi movements worldwide whose goal is to destroy and subjugate the West and eventually the entire world.
    Also the pipeline is being built legally and according to environmental rules. I would say it is way safer than a nuclear plant witness what happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima.
    Fukushima is probably the greatest environmental disaster as they do not even know where some of the fuel rods are as they melted into the ground, aka China Syndrome.

    • Would you theoretically be ok if they ran this type of pipeline through the Hawaiian islands? If so, I’m not sure you understand the ramifications and risks of the pipeline.

      Oil isn’t the only way to power the country. Eventually, like most people will agree, fossil fuels will run out. Then what? Renewable energy should be a priority and not for climate change but for energy independence and future sustainability.

      • In the mean time the electricity you are using to post this gobbledegook comes primarily from oil. So, stop using your lights , car , computer, shower , etc. Until technology catches up and I won’t call you a hypocrite. How easy yah ?

        • By the way , you do know that all oil being used in Hawaii is piped in right ? Comes right off those ships and thru about 2-3 miles of pipe. Then held in tanks right next to the ocean. Oh well.

        • How am I a hypocrite if I apply what I believe in my life?

          I cannot change what my place of work does or how the state is being powered as a whole by myself but what if my home uses solar?

          Say I walk to most places like the grocery store and work.

          Say my work involves improving the energy efficiency of buildings across the state.

          If my personal efforts to reduce my use of oil while advocating for a more sustainable energy future makes me a hypocrite…


        • Also, I do understand how the state is powered which is why I am in favor of cutting our dependence on oil. On that day those refineries can shut down and exponentially lower the risk to our islands. That in turn, will not only make a positive environmental impact but should reduce costs throughout our businesses.

          I really try not to be condescending but tone is very much hard to convey over text.

    • I agree. This is a battle Tulsi should stay OUT of. However Chernobyl and Fukushima are old nuclear generator designs that the US should no longer use. Much SAFER designs such as a pebble bed nuclear electrical generators CANNOT go Chernoybl or Fukushima. A couple of pebble bed nuclear reactors around Oahu hidden and secured on military installations like Schofield or the marine base, combined with full PV saturation of private homes/ buildings AND sufficient storage such three 20MW carbon flywheel spinning in a vacuum frequency regulator plants to quickly store/release large amounts of electricity; Oahu would pretty much be independent of fossil fuel energy for electricity.

      Also agree when Middle Eastern oil is no longer needed in the global market, the reach of Islamic terrorism will greatly contract and the US and other Western countries will be much safer. Ironic that of all the middle eastern countries like Iran, Libya, Syria, etc. Saudi Arabia, a supposed allie of the US, it’s citizens, including Bin Laden and his 9/11 crew who where almost all from Saudi Arabia has murdered the most American citizens in a terrorist attack.Bin Laden could only accomplish 9/11 because of his family connection to Saudi royalty and access to their immense wealth derived from selling fossil fuel to the US and the West. That is why Iran is so dangerous now they are flush with money from the US/Iran deal as garans that money will be used to sponsor world Islamic terrorism and for development and access to nuclear weapons.

      • I agree with you that our dependence on oil makes the world a more unsafe place. That’s exactly why we need to focus on investing in clean, renewable energy supplies. With the incredibly technology we have in our world today, there’s no excuse for continued dependence on foreign oil.

  • “But, he said, the demonstrations have not been conducted in “the military manner in which our veterans behave.” So much for following your conscience; just obey orders.

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