Police used Facebook to target protest leaders in line 3, new documents show

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On June 7, 2021, police in riot gear confronted environmental activists at the Line 3 pipeline pumping station near Itasca State Park in Minnesota.

On June 7, 2021, police in riot gear confronted environmental activists on the Line 3 pipeline pumping station close to Itasca State Park in Minnesota.
photograph: Kerem Yousell/AFP (Getty Images)

Protests in opposition to Enbridge Line 3 in Minnesota have been intensifying—and so has the response of the authorities.This week, a video of a helicopter from the Department of Homeland Security went viral on the Internet Sandblasting protesters after mass arrestsHowever, some police ways are far much less apparent whereas inflicting long-term difficulties.

Just just like the Dakota Access protests in 2016, social media has turn out to be the core of the propaganda channel opposition, and leaders broadcast their opposition by means of stay broadcasts or releases. However, in accordance to public information obtained by Earther, the police have turned to social media to target activist leaders and in some circumstances accuse them of crimes.

These information embody 1000’s of emails and documents from Enbridge, native legislation enforcement, and state authorities from 2019 to 2021, indicating that the sheriff in a Minnesota county on the middle of the pipeline battle has been protesting for a number of weeks Or a number of months later, at the very least as soon as the primary protester was focused on fabricated costs.

If the Line 3 pipeline venture is accomplished, it is going to transport 760,000 barrels of heavy crude oil from Canadian tar sand fields to the United States. The present venture is technically a alternative for the prevailing pipeline initially constructed in the Nineteen Sixties. Minnesota is The last remaining section of construction On the alternative merchandise.Controversially, the line 3 alternative venture traverses the new territory of Minnesota, together with Fond du Lac reservation Several treaty lands with the Ojibwe tribe.Indigenous teams lead the opposition, whereas the police Close cooperation— And, in some circumstances, obtained compensation from Enbridge in the previous few years to put together for large-scale civil unrest throughout pipeline building.

On January 9, tons of of individuals gathered at a Line 3 building web site in Atkin County, one of many first locations in Minnesota. Pipeline construction started In December.Local information reviews confirmed photos of chanting and singing at peaceable gatherings; Eight folks on Minnesota Public Radio had been arrested for trespassing Report, After they didn’t comply with the order of the police to disperse.

However, a subpoena obtained from the Atkin County Sheriff’s Office exhibits that the police used a video streamed and posted to Facebook to accuse well-known leaders of the Line 3 motion with a number of misdemeanors, together with harassment, trespass, unlawful meeting and Public hazard. These allegations had been filed on January 27, two weeks after the precise protest. (The allegations in opposition to the protesters arrested on the scene, a separate subpoena exhibits that they had been filed two days later.)

The two allegations of the stay video-based protests on January 9 had been made in opposition to a few of the most high-profile Aboriginal feminine leaders in the anti-third-line motion, together with Winona LaDuke, arguably the core of the opposition Character, and Tania Aubid, who went March hunger strike Protest in opposition to the pipeline.Another subpoena More than 5 months later, in accordance to her Facebook actions and Live video You also can discover it on Facebook. According to Matheson’s subpoena, a police officer watched a stay recording of one other occasion on January 9, in which Matheson inspired protesters to be arrested “if this is today” and supplied sources for jail help. Matheson informed Earthr that she did not even take part in the protest on the pipeline web site on January 9.

“You think,’Oh, I can change my Facebook settings,'” mentioned Marianne Moore, one other organizer who participated in the January ninth protest. “But then I won’t be able to contact people who are not my friends. It feels scary and strange.”

Even earlier than the occasions of January ninth, a few of the alleged protesters had been focused by the police. In an electronic mail despatched by Atkin County Sheriff Daniel Guida to a citizen in December, he mentioned one other incident on the Line 3 web site. He mentioned he had requested a plumber to cease at Obid was harassed in one other protest.

“I don’t appreciate her violent remarks and blatant lies about my office,” Guida wrote in an electronic mail. “Today she said that there are white hate groups on my payroll and instructed them to harass Indians. …if she knew how much effort I had put in to protect her rights.”

In an electronic mail, Guida informed Earthr that Aubid “has attacked me and apologized to me right in front of the camera. She behaved very well outside the camera. I admire her enthusiasm for what she loves. I belong to her family.” Friends, I hope to proceed to be one in every of them. One of Anishinaabe’s core values ​​is Gwekwaadiziwin (honesty), and I hope that our interactions could be based mostly on info.”

Obid was later charged with a serious misdemeanor of harassment. The police said the incident occurred during a protest on January 9th, and the subpoena stated that it was found in a live broadcast. Although her subpoena did not specify the specifics of her harassment allegation, the statement said that officials observed Obid during the live broadcast and told the construction workers that “little boys can be nervous. You do not belong right here.” Raduk was also charged. Harassment. Her subpoena stated that she and Obid “disrupted the development employees” at the scene, but did not specify.

Guida mentioned, “Everyone has their own opinions about what constitutes harassment (victims). My office will investigate these complaints.” The accusation determination is made by the county legal professional.

On June 7, 2021, during a rally and parade in Solway, Minnesota, indigenous climate activists marched to the water crossing section of the pipeline construction after praying for water.

On June 7, 2021, during a rally and parade in Solway, Minnesota, indigenous climate activists marched to the water crossing section of the pipeline construction after praying for water.
photograph: Kerem Youssel/AFP (Getty Images)

In late January, only a few days earlier than the allegations in opposition to LaDuke and Aubid, Guida was contacted by town administrator through electronic mail after Guida was denied permission for an out of doors neighborhood gathering unrelated to Line 3. Regarding the query of why she was denied an out of doors allow for a public schooling meeting following the covid-19 tips, Guida informed her that she “directly participated in the illegal assembly” and that town “has full right to use that against you, but they No.”

“I participated in rallies and parades, and other public propaganda activities against Line 3,” Matheson wrote. “I have never been subpoenaed or prosecuted for illegal gatherings or any other illegal activities related to it.”

In response, Guida told Matheson that her activities “have been recorded and recorded and may lead to criminal charges. Because you are not arrested or subpoenaed does not mean that the behavior is not illegal. Failure to deal with it immediately does not mean that it will not happen. Guida told Earther that when he sent this email, Matheson was already under investigation for the allegations on January 9.

Matheson said that the conspiracy charges against her-these allegations were made before the large-scale operations organized by the opposition on the 3rd line earlier this month, including an incident involving the arrest of more than 200 people-mean that she could face up to a year. Imprisonment and thousands of accusations. US dollar fines. “They tried to hold me accountable as the organizer,” She talked about the events of January 9. “I am not one of the leaders of the movement, but I have done a lot of organizational work and have a lot of public opinions. I live here and have a lot of contact with the community. They want us to be discredited and convicted in the community.”

When Matheson first appeared in court on Wednesday, a judge set the date for the disputed hearing as October. After Mattheson was released, she herself admitted that she had not communicated with any Enbridge employees or was close to any plumbing sites, which severely hindered her chances of organizing activities in the summer.

Social media monitoring of Line 3 protesters appears to be part of a wider effort by Atkin County officials.Other emails indicate that on January 13th, Capitol Hill RiotsGuida wrote a mass email to county staff about civil unrest and social media.

“We are all anxious about the protest groups that came to Atkin County and the rapidly changing events in the United States,” Jeddah wrote. “… In the past year, I spent most of my time predicting energy and planning how to reduce the scale of energy to protect our communities. A key element in this process is early intervention.”

Guida then listed a table containing more than two dozen events, most of which were posted on Facebook and planned to be held in January and February, with information about the location, host, and estimated number of participants. These included four pipeline protests on Line 3, including a “Tuesday Salsa Dance” event that told recipients to “come and stand up and do salsa for our river and our water.”

Guida added: “I have added a list of upcoming demonstrations, so you can see that this has become the norm for law enforcement across the state.”

He told Earth that he “updated regularly[s] My employees are related to upcoming events, so they can be prepared and ready to keep the peace. He also added that most of the arrests in his county were “very peaceful”, “Another Anishinaabe core value, Mnaadendimowin (respect), is very obvious to people on both sides of this issue. “But as the issue of how the police treat local protesters gets more and more attention this summer, it remains to be seen how they will continue to conduct online attacks on the organizers’ main communication channels.

“Quoting-not quoting is understandable [police] The order is being followed to remove people from Enbridge’s right of passage,” Moore mentioned. “For them, it’s one other factor to actively stop the group from reporting to folks the dangerous habits the corporate is taking. “