BREAKING: Oil Company’s Lawsuit Targets Iowa Pipeline Opponents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

5:00 p.m. CT, August 22, 2017
Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

BOLD IOWA CITED IN OIL COMPANY’S SWEEPING LAWSUIT
Allegations of “racketeering” absurd, claims Bold Iowa’s leader

Des Moines, IA — In response to the 187-page lawsuit by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) against Greenpeace and numerous other NGOs, Bold Iowa’s director, Ed Fallon, labeled it “a corporate witch hunt” and “a desperate, insidious effort to silence public opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) and other fossil-fuel expansion projects.”

“Clearly, our movement has had quite an impact on ETPs bottom line,” said Fallon, whose organization, Bold Iowa, is mentioned frequently throughout ETP’s lawsuit. ETP claims that the campaign to stop DAPL has cost it perhaps $300 million (Item 364). Item 24 of the suit says, “The damage to Plaintiffs’ relationships with the capital markets has been substantial, impairing access to financing and increasing their cost of capital and ability to fund future projects at economical rates.”

Three of Fallon’s blogs from his visit to Standing Rock in November and December of 2016 are referenced (page 154), and Bold Iowa’s Bold Action Teams are discussed in Item 316 of the lawsuit: “To stop construction, Bold Iowa organized and trained ‘Bold Action Teams’ (‘BAT’) which consisted of teams of five people who mobilize repeatedly to prevent construction until the point that the BATs were threatened with arrests. Bold Iowa members trespassed on live construction zones and physically prevented construction by lying in front of bulldozers or other construction equipment. Bold Iowa combined the BAT method with regular press releases openly touting the effectiveness of the BAT method of shutting down construction. BAT disruptions ultimately resulted in dozens of arrests.”

“It’s encouraging to know that our efforts had an impact,” continued Fallon. “At the same time, any American who values freedom of speech and the right to assemble should find it chilling that a huge corporation with seemingly bottomless pockets can use its clout to try to silence dissent through the courts.”

“For me, a lawsuit from ETP seems to have become an annual event,” concluded Fallon. Last August, ETP sued Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI, and Fallon and CCI’s Adam Mason specifically, to try to stop the two organizations from organizing peaceful protests and nonviolent civil disobedience. The lawsuit was dismissed by a district court judge in Polk County, Iowa.

Bold Iowa was formerly part of the national Bold Alliance and is now an independent non-profit organization that addresses the climate crisis, opposes the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure projects, promotes renewable energy and works to build a broad, urban/rural coalition of Iowans concerned about climate, land, water, property rights and greater accountability and integrity in politics. The organization’s new website is under construction and will be available in the near future.

Ed Fallon served in the Iowa Legislature for 14 years before running unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and US Congress in 2008. Since 2009, he has hosted a talk show, The Fallon Forum, which airs on five radio stations and is available online.

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The Ends Are Near

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, Lars Pearson and I were discussing the state of our country. Lars bemoaned the prospect of 3 1/2 more years of Donald Trump as president while I prognosticated that, within a year, the Tweeter in Chief will no longer occupy the White House. Our conversation ended with a friendly wager, one that Lars hopes I win.

Given the President’s response to the horrific events in Charlottesville, I’m inclined to move up the date of his premature departure. Most business and political leaders, even those in his own party, condemned the President’s remarks. Exceptions included Iowa congressmen Rod Blum and Steve King, who offered nuanced statements that belie their sympathy with the alt-right crazies. (See Kathie Obradovich’s column for details.)

So much quality commentary has been shared about Charlottesville, it’s hard to know which to recommend. If you’ve got just a couple minutes, I’d suggest this brief but powerful statement by my cousin, Jimmy Fallon. (Yeah, all Fallons are related, having crawled out of the same bog in southern Roscommon County, Ireland.)

A man or woman can’t serve effectively as president if he or she loses the trust of the American people. America’s confidence in Donald Trump was shaky to begin with. With each new offensive statement, tweet and proposal, that confidence erodes even further.

Yes, the end of the Trump presidency is near. For that, a growing majority of us are increasingly grateful.

But wait! Another end is near, relevant to climate change. This end is so delicately poised it could go one of two ways:

(1) Our rapidly-warming Earth arrives at that tipping point long predicted by scientists, where cataclysmic disruptions severely alter life on our planet. Many people will die, especially front-line communities least responsible for causing the problem. Those who survive will have no choice but to adapt. The pain will be prolonged, but humanity will be dragged kicking and screaming into a challenging but sustainable future.

(2) A different historic tipping point is achieved. Americans wake-up to the reality that we face an existential crisis like no other. The nations of the world launch the all-hands-on-deck, full-scale mobilization advocated by The Climate Mobilization. We mitigate the damage and destruction through preparedness, innovation and cooperation, arriving at that sustainable future with a lot less pain and suffering.

Ed talks with Dave Price on TV 13’s “The Insiders” this week. Click image to view video.

I’m opting for the second tipping point, and my life for the past decade has been committed to helping birth that reality. (Here’s my recent appearance on The Insiders with David Price.) Honestly, I’m surprised we aren’t there yet, given the growing number of climate indicators:

* Nearly every year sets a new record for warmest ever.

* Ice and snow in the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland are melting at alarming rates.

* Storms are measurably stronger.

Yes, this end is near too. Just as we’ll survive Trump’s presidency, abbreviated or otherwise, we’ll survive climate change. But the longer we wait to mobilize, the uglier it’s going to get. That’s a reality none of us want to see.

So let’s kick it into high gear! Mobilize! Make those personal changes that allow you to live lighter on the Earth — and allow you to live more sustainably.

Especially, let’s convince our leaders to act NOW. School board and municipal elections are coming up. Next year’s midterm primary election is just over nine months away. Act now. Act boldly — in the streets, in the fields and in the voting booth.

Ed Fallon

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The Contemplative Side of Social Change

Dear Friends,

Jess and Ruby were livestreamed on the Fallon Forum on Monday.

I’ve had lots of invigorating conversations lately about the spiritual and moral impetus for civil disobedience. Much of that conversation was inspired by the resistance of Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya, who recently confessed to damaging Dakota Access pipeline equipment. Check out our talk on this week’s Fallon Forum, and dialogue with Ruby and Jess face-to-face tonight at 7:00 p.m. at 1041 8th Street in Des Moines.

Leaving time for introspection has always been tough for me. How tough? Here’s a reflection I wrote about . . . well, about reflection . . . during the 2014 Great March for Climate Action. As always, feedback welcome. Thanks. – Ed

“With Steve gone, my marching day becomes increasingly contemplative. I often avoid the route Sarah and Anna have laid out and tack on extra miles to walk quiet roads or detour through small towns in search of a cafe with Internet service and large servings of bad food.

“Western Nebraska is sparsely inhabited but under-appreciated, exuding a wealth of sights, sounds and smells too abundant to catalogue. The lack of traffic liberates me from the fear that the next car or truck barreling past could kill or maim me. My focus shifts from survival to the alluring world around me — and to the even more alluring world within.

“Marching becomes meditation, my footsteps the mantra. I see the fields, ditches, trees, irrigation pivots, fence lines, homes and out-buildings. I hear the dog bark, the cow bellow for her calf, the cardinal sing to his mate, the warm breeze rustle the chest-high corn. I smell the white clover, the fresh-cut hay, the comfortable scent of horses, the acrid pungency of too many hogs. All this and so much more drifts through my senses in slow motion — visual, audial and olfactory b-roll, the canvas for the actual performance of life itself.

“My mind focuses on the repetitive, rhythmic crunch of shoes on gravel. It clears my head and brings a sense of peace. I recall the meditation course I took at age sixteen, the ten-minute introductory session inducing an unexpected inner calm that remained with me the rest of the day. Nothing bothered me — not the blackberry thorns that tore at my skin as I harvested the plant’s fruit; not my Mother’s nagging; not my brother calling me names for sport.

“Years later, after a long day hitchhiking through the French Alps, I settled for a bit high up in the mountains at a Buddhist monastery. Sitting for hours with the monks as they chanted “om,” the sound playing off ancient stone walls that once housed Catholic monks, I noticed how the mantra would roll through six or more unique tones in one recitation.

“Decades later on a work day during my campaign for governor, I thought about that experience as I made tiramisu at Cafe Dodici, an Italian restaurant in Washington, Iowa. The restaurant’s young, artistic chef showed me how to blend the egg yolks. “Watch how many different shades of yellow they go through, like 15 or 20,” he explained excitedly. “It’s awesome, as if you’re watching the universe unfold in a mixing bowl. But you’ll need some tunes to really bring it home,” he said as he flipped a switch sending rap music blaring through the kitchen.

“Om. Egg yolks. Footsteps. There are endless aids to center oneself on the path to enlightenment. But a mantra isn’t stagnant white noise. It’s alive, rich with motion and texture. My right heel’s first contact with gravel produces a deep tone. There’s a sudden decrescendo as the foot begins to roll forward. The pitch and volume rise as my weight shifts to the ball of the foot as the left heel moves into place and repeats the pattern. Every four steps, my walking stick punctuates the rhythm with a sharp sforzando as it grinds into the loose gravel. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Seven million times . . .

“Like waves breaking on a beach, my footsteps roll through gravel, through Nebraska, toward infinity, toward eternity. At times like this, my mind seems to get it. The technique and purpose of meditation — directing the hungry soul toward the peace that comes with knowing one’s higher self — is so simple, so transparently important. Yet more often than not, my mind remains restless, distracted by both beauty and ugliness, unable to focus on the deeper truth that transports one beyond pleasure and pain.

“Forty years ago, my first meditation was a uniquely powerful experience. But life’s pressing demands lured me away from the pursuit of inner peace. Perhaps had I continued to meditate, continued to cultivate the balance that such practice brings, I’d be able to manage the March’s turmoil with more dignity. Perhaps meditating during my solo walks on backroads might yet help me deal with the challenges ahead.

“A dog barks. I re-enter the world of the senses. What kind of dog is that? Is it on a leash? Does it bite?

“A bird sings . . . wren or finch?

“Will the cafe in the next town serve real butter?

“I hope I don’t run out of wet wipes today.

“I suck at meditation, even under the tutelage of a guru as patient as western Nebraska’s gravel roads.”

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Another Pipeline??

Dear Friends,

Stringing pipe depicted in August 2 FERC report.

This week, two Boone County landowners contacted me when they noticed a large amount of pipe arriving at the staging area used last year to stockpile materials for the Dakota Access pipeline. Ever suspicious of Dakota Access’ activities and motives, folks in Boone County were rightfully on guard.

So, I dug into it a bit. I contacted officials with both the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). I learned that the pipe is for the Northern Natural Gas (NNG) Company Des Moines B-Line Loop Project (Docket No. CP17-434-000, for those inclined to dig further). It’ll extend 13.8 miles through Boone and Polk counties.

The filing from Northern Natural Gas to FERC. Click on the picture to read document in full.

Here’s one of the documents from FERC that I’ve been studying. It tells a bit about the project, and shows photos of extensive crop destruction. It opens the door to a lot of unanswered questions. For starters:

– Why is NNG’s project just coming to the public’s attention now? Did we miss something? Were the press and general public asleep at the wheel? Or did NNG hope to avoid public awareness, input, and potentially, opposition?

– Will this project expand the capacity to transport natural gas? If so, by how much? If it does increase gas production, that raises concerns about the impact on climate change, since methane is arguably more problematic than carbon dioxide. (Check out this Union of Concerned Scientists article on the subject.)

– Is the gas being transported through this pipeline fracked? If so, there are concerns about water quality and land-use issues at the site where the gas is being fracked.

August 2 FERC report shows clearing of beans.

– How much corn and bean crop will this pipeline project destroy? Are landowners being compensated for crop damage? Since the project is fairly small, why couldn’t NNG wait until the crops have been harvested? It seems doubtful that farmers were given much notice about this project, because I suspect they wouldn’t have wasted time and money planting this spring if they’d known their crops were going to be destroyed.

– Is NNG using only existing easements, or is new land being condemned through eminent domain?

– What precautions are being taken to assure the safety and protection of Beaver Creek, which the pipeline crosses three times?

– How many men and women working on this pipeline are from Iowa? Thinking back to the many times I visited construction sites along the Dakota Access pipeline, only one out of every ten vehicles had an Iowa license plate.

I’m sure I’m missing some important questions. I’ve known about this situation only since late Wednesday. If you live in Boone County or feel inclined to an investigative road trip, I’d appreciate any additional information you can share. Let’s remain vigilant, and let’s keep pushing back against big fossil fuel companies (mostly from Texas, it seems) that think they can trample on our land, water, climate and property rights with impunity.

 

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Do You Support or Oppose DAPL Property Destruction?

Dear Friends,

Before we ask “What Would Jesus Do?” with regards the destruction of equipment along the Dakota Access pipeline, I’ve got two other asks:

1. Sign the petition demanding that Senate Republicans, not Iowa taxpayers, pay the settlement in Kirsten Anderson’s sexual harassment lawsuit. Click here.

2. Sign the petition calling on Gov. Reynolds to remove Richard Lozier from the Iowa Utilities Board for his blatant conflict of interest. Click here.

When it comes to oil pipelines, heavy equipment, valves, fences and other property owned by Dakota Access, we don’t have to ask “What Would Jessica and Ruby Do?” {Check out the conversation on the July 24 Fallon Forum 7.24.17 podcast.}

Unicorn Riot reports video of Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya removing letters from the IUB sign.

At a press conference Monday in front the Iowa Utilities Board, Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya confessed to sabotaging a whole lot of Dakota Access property over the past seven months. (Read their official statement here.) At the conclusion of the press conference, to drive home their point, they pulled out tools and began removing the IUB sign. That’s when State troopers stepped in and arrested them.

Jessica and Ruby have sparked a critical conversation about whether such actions are violent or non-violent, effective or ineffective — a dialogue more important now than ever. As the unholy collusion of Big Business and Big Government becomes less and less accountable, more and more disgruntled Americans are embracing tactics that, historically, have been regarded as extreme, dangerous and counter productive.

Usually in my weekly blog, I come at you with a strong opinion. Today, I’m going to leave you hanging as I want this to be a bottom-up, free-flowing dialogue — one that analyzes conscience-based property destruction from both a strategic and moral perspective. I’ve already received a lot of feedback on both sides of the issue (check out my Facebook page and weigh in with your own thoughts).

Back to my original question: “What Would Jesus Do?” If a poll were taken today, I suspect a solid majority would oppose what Jessica and Ruby did.

But what about Jesus overturning the money changers’ tables in the Temple? Violent or non-violent? Effective or non-effective?

What about the colonial “Sons of Liberty” dumping tea in Boston Harbor in 1773 to spark the American Revolution?

 

 

What about Gandhi’s burning of English-made cloth to ignite a movement to liberate India from dependence on foreign goods?

 

 

 

And what do we make of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comments in The Trumpet of Conscience? “I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons — who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man.”

This is not a comfortable conversation, and none of the examples I cite are black-and-white. During my three decades of activism on behalf of people, planet and political reform, I’ve come down against property destruction as an acceptable form of non-violent protest. But I can’t ever recall participating in a detailed, analytical discussion of the topic. Perhaps now is the time for that, as the strategic and moral relevance of the conclusions we draw may prove more timely than ever.

 

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Activists Who Damaged Pipeline Arrested in Des Moines

{Here’s the statement read by Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya prior to their arrest Monday, July 24 for a series of actions that disrupted work on the Dakota Access pipeline.}

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an issue that affects this entire nation and the people that are subject to its rule. With DAPL we have seen incredible issues regarding the rule of law, indigenous sovereignty, land seizures, state sanctioned brutality, as well as corporate protections and pardons for their wrongdoings. To all those that continue to be subjected to the government’s injustices, we humbly stand with you, and we ask now that you stand with us.

Federal courts gave corporations permission to lie and withhold information from the public resulting in a complete media blackout. So, after recently being called by the Intercept, an independent media outlet, regarding illegal surveillance by the Dakota Access Pipeline and their goons, we viewed this as an opportunity to encourage public discourse surrounding nonviolent direct action as well as exposing the inadequacies of the government and the corporations they protect.

After having explored and exhausted all avenues of process, including attending public commentary hearings, gathering signatures for valid requests for Environmental Impact Statements, participating in Civil Disobedience, hunger strikes, marches and rallies, boycotts and encampments, we saw the clear deficiencies of our government to hear the people’s demands.

Instead, the courts and public officials allowed these corporations to steal permissions from landowners and brutalize the land, water, and people. Our conclusion is that the system is broken and it is up to us as a individuals to take peaceful action and remedy it, and this we did, out of necessity.

We acted for our children and the world that they are inheriting is unfit. There are over five major bodies of water here in Iowa, and none of them are clean because of corporation’s flagrant irresponsibility, and now another wishes to poison literally millions of us irreparably by putting us all at risk of another major catastrophe with yet another oil spill. DAPL has already leaked, and it will continue do so until the oil is shut off and the pipes are removed from the ground.

On elecion night 2016, we began our peaceful direct action campaign to a Dakota Access construction site and burned at least 5 pieces of heavy machinery in Buena Vista County, IA. Details regarding this action are attached to this statement below. This was information which was not shared with the public. We recognize that our action wasn’t much, but we at least stopped construction for a day at that particular site.

We then began to research the tools necessary to pierce through 5/8 inch steel pipe, the material used for this pipeline. In March we began to apply this self-gathered information. We began in Mahaska County, IA, using oxy-acetylene cutting torches to pierce through exposed, empty steel valves, successfully delaying completion of the pipeline for weeks. After the success of this peaceful action, we began to use this tactic up and down the pipeline, throughout Iowa (and a part of South Dakota), moving from valve to valve until running out of supplies, and continuing to stop the completion of this project. More information on these actions is followed at the end of this statement.

These actions of great public interest were hardly reported and the federal government and Energy Transfer Partners colluded together to lie and withhold vital information to the public.

We then returned to arsonry as a tactic. Using tires and gasoline-soaked rags we burned multiple valve sites, their electrical units, as well as additional heavy equipment located on DAPL easements throughout Iowa, further halting construction.

Later, in the first week of May we attempted yet again to pierce a valve located in Wapallo County, IA with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch. It was at this time we discovered oil was flowing through the pipe. This was beyond disheartening to us, as well as to the nation at large. This event was again hidden from the public and replaced with lies about “ditch depressions”. http://www.ottumwacourier.com/news/isg-county-s-pipeline-issues-minor/article_dc06b27c-3516-11e7-b2b6-131cb4cdc0ae.html

We stand here now today as witnesses of peaceful, nonviolent direct action. Our actions have been those of necessity and humility. We feel we have done nothing to be ashamed of. For some reason the courts and ruling government value corporate property and profit over our inherent human rights to clean water and land.

We are speaking publicly to empower others to act boldly, with purity of heart, to dismantle the infrastructures which deny us our rights to water, land and liberty. We as civilians have seen the repeated failures of the government and it is our duty to act with responsibility and integrity, risking our own liberty for the sovereignty of us all.

Some may view these actions as violent, but be not mistaken. We acted from our hearts and never threatened human life nor personal property. What we did do was fight a private corporation that has run rampantly across our country seizing land and polluting our nation’s water supply. You may not agree with our tactics, but you can clearly see the necessity of them in light of the broken federal government and the corporations they protect.

We do not anticipate a fair trial but do expect our loved ones to undergo harassment from the federal government and the corporations they protect. We urge you to not speak one word to the federal government and stand firm in order to not be oppressed further into making false, but self-incriminating statements. Film these interactions. There are resources as what to do if the federal agents appear at your doorstep, educate and protect yourself. https://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/assets/files/CCR_If_An_Agent_Knocks.pdf

It is unfortunate to have to prepare for such things, but this is the government that rules, which continues to look more and more like a Nazi, fascist Germany as each day passes. We salute the people.

Details of our peaceful direct action are as follows. We hope this information helps inspire others to act boldly and peacefully, and to ease any anxieties to perceptions held that the state and these corporations are somehow an “omniscient” and “undefeatable” entity.

After studying intuitively how fires work, and the material of the infrastructures which we wished to halt (metal) we learned that the fire had to be hot enough to melt steel — and we have learned typical arsonry is not allows the most effective means, but every action is a thorn in their side.

On election night, knowing that gasoline burns quickly, but does not sustain by itself, we added motor oil (which burns at a higher temperature and for longer) and rags to coffee canisters and placed them on the seats of the machinery, piercing the coffee canisters once they were in place and striking several matches, anticipating that the seats would burn and maintain a fire long enough to make the machines obsolete. One canister did not light, and that is unfortunate, but five out of six ain’t bad.

As we saw construction continue, we realized that pipe was going into the ground and that our only means to obstruct further corporate desecration was somehow to pierce through the empty steel pipes exposed at the numerous valve sites. We learned that a welding torch using oxygen and acetylene was the proper tool. We bought the equipment outside of our city in efforts to maintain anonymity as our goal was to push this corporation beyond their means to eventually abandon the project. We bought kits at Home Depot and the tanks at welding supply stores, like Praxair and Mathesons. Having no experience with welding equipment before, we learned through our own volition and we were able to get the job down to 7 minutes. http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/03/burntdapl.png In our particular circumstances, we learned that scouting often hindered our ability to act in windows of opportunity. So, we went with our torches and protective gear on, and found numerous sites, feeling out the “vibe” of each situation, and deciding to act then and there, often in broad daylight. Trust your spirit, trust the signs.

Having run out of supplies (the tanks) we decided to return to arsonry because every action counts. We used gasoline and rags along with tires (as tires burn a nice while, once a steady fire within them burns) to multiple DAPL sites and equipment.

We were able to get more supplies shortly after and returned to a valve site in Wapello County to act again. It was then we discovered that oil was flowing through the pipeline. This was not reported to the public, instead a story of “ditch depressions” was reported to the public in Wapello County as the reason to why the pipeline continued to be delayed.

It is because of these lies we choose to come out publicly, to set the record straight, and be open about these peaceful and viable tactics against corporate atrocities.

If there are any regrets, it is that we did not act enough.

Please support and stand with us in this journey because we all need this pipeline stopped.

Water is Life, oil is death.

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya

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Demand Repubs Pay Harassment Settlement

Dear Friends,

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION!

Kirsten Anderson, the Iowa Senate Republican staffer fired during the Statehouse scandal involving a toxic “boys club” environment of lewd jokes, vulgar comments and inappropriate remarks about women’s bodies, had her day in court this week. Kirsten won and the jury awarded her $2.2 million!

Kirsten Anderson

Kirsten won. Women won. Justice won.

But alas, Iowa taxpayers lost. We’re the ones now stuck paying the tab.

That ain’t right. And it doesn’t have to end like this. For sure, Kirsten deserves every penny of the settlement. But there’s an alternative to soaking the taxpayers.

Typically, when a party is found guilty and ordered to pay fines and restitution, that party pays. Not someone else. Certainly not an innocent bystander.

If Senate Republicans believe all their talk about fairness, if their clamor to cut taxes isn’t simply a cloud of political hot air, they’ll dig that $2.2 million out of their collective campaign pockets. We know it’s there. But do they have the integrity to do the right thing?

I’m not holding my breath. Politicians are known for clinging to wads of cash like an eagle clutches a dead fish. I suspect it’ll take an outpouring of public pressure to get them to respond.

So, what are we waiting for!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THIS PETITION! Thank Senator Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) for speaking out against the Senate leadership’s culpability in this scandal. (See Des Moines Register story here.) Encourage Bertrand and Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) — rumored to be considering a leadership challenge to Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) — to demand that Senate Republicans and the Iowa Republican Party pick up the tab.

I’m elated the court ruled with Anderson. I’m encouraged to see Iowa jurisprudence come down on the side of justice. Now let’s demand justice for Iowa taxpayers, too!

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The buzz continues from the important rally and concert organized earlier this month by Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa. Check out the collage of photos and videos Shari Hrdina has assembled, including summary video by Rodger Routh.

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Heed Iowa’s Native Leaders

Dear Friends,

Most of the mainstream media missed it, as did most of Iowa’s political leaders. You might have missed it too, but last week, a truly important event happened in Des Moines.

Rally organizers Ed Fallon of Bold Iowa and Christine Nobiss of Indigenous Iowa, with Christine’s children.

No, it wasn’t Independence Day, although that’s important, and this year’s celebration was unique given the Legislature’s decision to legalize fireworks.

The truly important event was the NoDAPL Rally, Concert and Call to Action at the Iowa State Capitol on July 1, spearheaded by Christine Nobiss and Indigenous Iowa. It was small, maybe 150 people. But participants came from all over with a united sense of purpose that will continue to shape the conversation on climate, water and our land well into the future.

Regina Tsosie with the Native American Coalition of the Quad Cities opens the rally with a song.

July 1 showed that Native voices are not backing down in the fight to protect Earth from the full-blown war being waged against her by greed and myopia.

July 1 showed that Indigenous leaders are no longer isolated, and that people from many nations are working together in this struggle. There were at least ten Native nations represented at the rally.

July 1 showed that non-Native allies increasingly understand that, as Native people step forward to assume leadership roles, we must stand with them as supporters and resist the colonial impulse to sweep in, take over and show them how it’s done.

Gabriel Ayala of Tucson, Arizona, headlined the rally with powerful music and words.

I wrote about this truth in one of my blogs from Standing Rock last year, and reprint a portion of it here:

Manape LaMere, a camp leader and one of the seven Elders, invites us to a meeting of camp Elders. Lyssa and I lean into the blizzard for the grueling ten-minute walk from our tent site to the dome.

Donnielle Wanatee of the Meskwaki People speaks.

We assemble in a cold, crowded structure heated by a wood stove. The air is filled with a cocktail of smoke from sage, wood and tobacco. With people constantly coming and going, bursts of blizzard air slip in through the dome’s entrance. The interior never warms up much.

The meeting is long, interesting, important. The Elders talk about tribal unity, and the importance of non-native allies remembering that they are guests and not here to provide leadership. The camp is governed by Native leaders using traditional structures and time-honored procedures. This is likely to be foreign, uncomfortable to non-natives. It’s easy for those of us from a western mindset to slip into a mode of benevolent, well-intentioned colonialism. It’s easy for us to want to take over, insist on a “better” way to do things.

Donnielle Wanatee’s daughter, Loveena Adeline Jefferson

It’s solid advice. White folk still have this imperial mindset, where we’re the ones to fix things, the ones who ride to the rescue.

I don’t watch a lot of movies, but as I listen, Dances With Wolves comes to mind — it takes a white guy, Kevin Costner, to help the Indians figure out how to save themselves (he fails).

At what point will European-Americans, as individuals and collectively, move beyond the failed notion that we have all the answers? Clearly, we have a ways to go if a U.S. Congressman (Steve King) can disparage non-white constituencies as “sub groups” while making the outrageous statement that historically, all valuable contributions come from whites.

State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad and his friend, Jacks.

After each of the Elders speaks, Manape invites me to share what’s happening in Iowa in opposition to the pipeline. I’m honored to have this opportunity, and talk about landowner and farmer resistance, upcoming court hearings, and Jessica Reznicek’s open-ended fast demanding revocation of Dakota Access’ permit.

They appreciate my report and the commitment of their allies in Iowa. But here at Standing Rock, this movement is more than just a fight against the pipeline. It’s a movement of historic proportions, a movement that’s just beginning, a cultural revival of traditions that will supplant the failed, non-sustainable paradigms that have dominated Western civilization.

Lakasha Touches Lightning from Little Creek Camp helps emcee the rally.

I ask Manape what happens after the pipeline fight is over. “The traditional chiefs who’ve been appointed to lead this camp are looking to build a future that is sustainable and eco-friendly,” says Manape. “We’re a community where people are showing up with wonderful technology, whether it’s heating or cooling systems or just general power usage.

“And this new form of government we’re building is breathing life into our people, reviving the significance of our treaties. Some people get it, some people don’t. But what we’re doing is going to save non-Natives as well as Natives.”

I hope you’ll take time to review the photos and video we assembled from July 1. You’ll find it in my Facebook “NoDAPL Rally, Concert and Call to Action” album and Facebook “NoDAPL Rally on July 1, 2017” playlist and in various other places too numerous to list. Also Rodger Routh produced a wonderful summary video. Videos include some powerful speeches by both Native and non-Native leaders. Thanks for continuing to stand together! – Ed

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Pipeline Fighter to File Appeal

Dear Friends,

Heather Pearson

Late yesterday afternoon, Heather Pearson was found guilty of trespass for her brave stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline last fall. Among the many hats she wears, Heather is Bold Iowa’s Director of Rabble Rousing and is never shy about leading songs or chants during rallies and marches.

Yesterday, seated with her attorney, Channing Dutton, in a courtroom in Rockwell City, Heather comported herself with dignity and clarity on the witness stand and talking with reporters after the verdict was read.

Here’s the press release sent out this morning by Bold Iowa and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. Please share it with others, and let folks know that this pipeline fight is not over. Heather plans to appeal yesterday’s ruling, and three other pipeline fighters have cases coming up, all in Calhoun County. They are Kriss Wells, Emma Schmidt and Mahmud Fitil.

Press Conference at Heather’s trial

Over the lunch hour, a brief press conference was held in front of the Freedom Rock on the north side of the Courthouse. Click here to view video. Reporters from three local and regional papers — The Fort Dodge Messenger, The Storm Lake Times and The Calhoun County Graphic-Advocate — were at the trial for its entirety. Click here to read The Messenger article, and we’ll post the others as they’re available.

In terms of our options for justice, there’s also the lawsuit involving nine landowners and the Iowa Sierra Club, now before the Iowa Supreme Court. More on that soon.

So to those who say, “This fight is over,” today’s trial is more evidence that it’s not even close. – Ed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8:00 a.m. CT, July 7, 2017
Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa, 515-238-6404, ed@fallonforum.com

Iowa Pipeline Fighter Found Guilty, Will File Appeal 
Ruling in Heather Pearson’s trial ignores justification defense

Rockwell City, IA — Heather Pearson, a resident of Logan, Iowa and a Dakota Access pipeline opponent who was arrested on October 29, 2016 during nonviolent direct action to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Shirley Gerjets’ property in Calhoun County, was found “guilty” yesterday in a jury trial. Gerjets, age 82 and a life-long farmer, remains an outspoken critic of the pipeline, which crosses her land and includes a valve station that permanently removes farm ground from production.

Channing Dutton

“The result today is difficult to understand,” said Channing Dutton, Pearson’s attorney. “We had a great client and an excellent judge. There is no way the prosecution proved its case. This is the power of a big corporation using local law enforcement to arrest good people whose only crime is their commitment to protect our climate future and stand up for landowner rights. We’ll soldier on. There will be another day.”

Pearson plans to appeal the decision. On the stand, Pearson stated, “Why should we have to put our air, our water, our land, and our climate at risk so some private company can get rich running oil through our farmland. They’re not only stealing our land, they’re putting everything we need to survive at risk.”

Shirley Gerjets

Landowner and farmer Shirley Gerjets took the stand and told how she did everything she could to stop Dakota Access from taking her land. “I kicked those Dakota Access surveyors off my land I don’t know how many times. It was sickening the day it started. Their pickups drove through my corn, then they chopped it all down, and then the bulldozers came and messed up the topsoil. This fight has cost me lots of money and many, many sleepless nights. An agronomist told me we’d never get the land back to the way it was. As far as I’m concerned, it’s this pipeline that’s trespassing, not Heather.”

Brenda Brink

“This court case illustrated how Iowans continue to stand together against an out-of-state corporate oil pipeline that risks our livelihoods, property rights, health and water,” said Brenda Brink of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. “Another thing that’s become clear in this trial is how the pipeline company expected local law enforcement to do whatever it wanted, regardless of the costs or other needs of the community.”

“We’re deeply disappointed in the jury’s decision,” said Bold Iowa director, Ed Fallon. “Jurors got stuck on the side issue of trespass, ignoring the justification for Heather’s action. This pipeline impacts Iowa farmers, landowners and all people concerned about our land, water and climate. When our politicians fail us, as they have, civil resistance is the historically appropriate response.”

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TigerSwan Operated Without a License in Iowa

Dear Friends —

Wow! Dakota Access’ hired security squad got caught cracking down on pipeline opponents in North Dakota without a license. Well, it looks like the situation in Iowa is pretty similar. Read the release below, and help us get it out to your local news sources, online networks, bathroom walls, and where ever else thinking people get their news.

To those who were planning to come to Rockwell City tomorrow for Heather Pearson’s trial, hang tight. The court has again moved the date. Now it’s July 6 and 7. And I hope to see you this Saturday for the big rally, concert and call to action featuring Gabriel Ayala at the Iowa State Capitol. — Ed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday 3:00 p.m. CT, June 29, 2017
Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa at (515) 238-6404 or ed@fallonforum.com

Company Spying on Pipeline Opponents Operated Without License
Analysis suggests TigerSwan guilty of a serious misdemeanor

Des Moines, Iowa — Conversations with two Iowa Department of Public Safety (IDPS) officials (Amber Markham and Ross Loder) and preliminary analysis of relevant records show that TigerSwan, the para-military security firm hired by Dakota Access to spy on pipeline opponents, operated in Iowa without a license for at least six months.

Flags line Oceti Sakowin’s “Main Street” at Standing Rock last November. Photo by Lyssa Wade.

After it was revealed earlier this week that North Dakota officials refused to issue TigerSwan a license to operate in that state, Ed Fallon, the head of Bold Iowa and a former member of the Iowa House of Representatives, inquired with state officials as to whether TigerSwan might have been similarly negligent in Iowa.

“It was confirmed by IDPS that they received from TigerSwan an application requesting a license on November 28, 2016,” noted Fallon. “We know from reports released by The Intercept that TigerSwan was actively spying on pipeline opponents in Iowa at least as early as August 2016. The company’s license wasn’t approved until February 1, 2017, so TigerSwan should be charged with a serious misdemeanor. Dakota Access and its subcontractors have gotten away with one infraction after another. We’re going to do everything we can to hold them accountable on this. It’s like driving without a license. There are consequences for scofflaws who do that. There ought to be consequences for TigerSwan and Dakota Access, too. They aren’t above the law, though sometimes they act that way.”

Fallon has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with IDPS to obtain any and all information that might shed further light on communications between Department officials and TigerSwan.

“From everything I’ve learned so far, Iowa’s public officials acted responsibly and with impartiality,” observed Fallon. “I have every confidence they’ll provide any additional information in a timely manner.”

Fallon also learned that individuals working with TigerSwan must be credentialed by IDPS. Originally, there were only two or three credentialed employees. Yet that number jumped to 88 by May 2017.

“Yeah, that’s kind of incredible,” said Fallon. “I’m not sure why they needed a squad of 88 security personnel to crack down on a couple hundred pipeline opponents. I suspect we’ll get an answer as more and more details about this shadowy operation come to light.”

The Iowa Code Chapter relevant to licensing private investigative agencies and security agents is 80A.

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