Native American protest inside Union Station in Washington, D.C., in support of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe s stance against the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL. November 15, 2016.
The protesters and cameras are gone and oil is flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, but the battle over the 1,200-mile pipeline continues in a federal courtroom in Washington, D.C.
In the next few months, a team of lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Norton Rose Fulbright will try to convince a district judge to keep the pipeline open while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reassesses the permit it granted Dakota Access. The Standing Rock Sioux and other nearby tribes asked that the pipeline be shut down Wednesday during the Corps review.
Opening briefs on the issue from Dakota Access and the Corps were set for July 17, and the tribes response is due Aug. 7. A decision isn t expected until as early as September.
Last week, in a 91-page opinion, Judge James Boasberg ruled the Corps permitting process was legally flawed. Boasberg ordered the Corps to conduct further review to determine if an EIS is needed, but declined to vacate the existing permit.
Leading the charge for Dakota Access, which joined forces with the Army Corps as an intervenor, are William Scherman, David Debold and Miguel Estrada of Gibson Dunn, and Kimberly Caine and Robert Comer of Norton Rose. Alan Glen of Nossaman is also on the team.
Our view is that until there is a proper risk analysis that looks at the risk of oil spills, that considers the impacts to the tribe, they shouldn t be operating that pipeline, Hasselman said after the hearing. We ll be saying that as forcefully as we can to the court.
Another concern for the tribes, raised multiple times during the hearing Wednesday, is whether the Corps will allow public comment and input from the tribes during the review. If they don t, Hasselman said his clients will seek a court order requiring it.
If the Army Corps goes into a room and closes the door and comes up with a new analysis, we won t have moved this ball forward. We won t have solved any legal problem. We ll just be back in front of the court again, Hasselman said. So our position is, this needs to be an open process.
The tribes had argued that under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Corps should be required to conduct a full environmental impact statement, known as an EIS, before issuing a permit to Dakota Access. In December, the Obama administration rescinded the permit and ordered an EIS. But in February, the Trump administration rescinded that order and granted the permit.
For much of last year, the litigation ran parallel to massive protests by tribe members and activists at the pipeline construction site in North Dakota. An estimated 10,000 people camped out in the area to protest, the last of whom were cleared out in February. Tensions reached new heights after protests turned violent amid clashes with private security officers in September. North Dakota then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple even activated the state s National Guard to assist local law enforcement with the protests.
The landscape of Bunker s Island on the hill overlooking Yarmouth Harbour will change considerably this summer. Two giant rust-stained tanks owned by Irving Oil are being removed. The tanks, each with a 4.3-million-litre capacity, have been there since 1967. Four others were removed years earlier. Mark Sherman, Irving executive vice-president and chief operating officer, says the tanks on the island will no longer be used because of the recent acquisition of the Valero bulk terminal on Prospect Street in Yarmouth.
The purchase is part of a plan to expand Irving Oil s capabilities in Nova Scotia. When the Imperial Oil refinery closed a couple of years ago in Halifax, we made a strategic decision to step in and make sure that we had supply security in that region, said Sherman.
We decided to reopen that Halifax side terminal that we had, he said. Last year the company invested $80 million to build a new dock and tank farm there. It opened to good response, said Sherman, because in 2015 there were gas shortages in Nova Scotia.
That was all because there were storms elsewhere in the world and ships weren t getting in, in time, he said. The Yarmouth terminal purchase of the Valero site is one of four purchased by Irving for supply security. The other three are in Bridgewater, New Glasgow and Port Hawkesbury. Sherman said demand is down, generally, for heating oil but still profitable for Irving. So that s what drove us to make the acquisition from Valero and hence we end up with these two properties in Yarmouth. But there isn t a need for both, he said. A decision on the contractor has not been made yet but Sherman says it s the company s intent to use local firms as long as they have the capabilities.
The piping from the tanks down to the dock will be removed but the dock will remain. In the end, just the earth where the tanks were will be visible, but Irving will continue to work with the provincial government for 18 months to make sure the site is environmentally clean and that all tests are passed.
There are no plans for other development of the 32-acre property at this time.
Our main priority is to get it cleaned up, looking good, and we ll see where it goes from there, said Sherman. This site does not represent our typical properties; that s why we re anxious to get it down.
Armed only with a Styrofoam Pepsi cup, the man claimed to be Native American and ordered the assembled to Go back to Europe with your hate, calling them, at one point, Ellis Island parasites. As can be seen in various YouTube videos of the event, plain-clothed officers with the Phoenix Police Department blocked the man from getting too close to a perimeter established by a string of yellow caution tape. That tape encircled an area where more than 200 demonstrators had gathered for the Phoenix version of ACT for America s nationwide March Against Sharia, one of 28 scheduled for June 10.
Members of Based Stickmen AZ, armed mainly with sticks draped with the American flag, and their allies, the Arizona Proud Boys stepped past the yellow tape, as did some in the AR-15-totin Arizona Liberty Guard militia, which was doing security for the event. Crowd members taunted their sole ideological opponent for the day, calling him chickenshit, and telling him, You re really cute when you re angry! Just as things began to teeter out of hand, a uniformed Phoenix cop warned both sides that he would trespass anyone who continued to disturb the peace.
Eventually, the man walked away and the crowd pulled back, chanting U.S.A., U.S.A., before breaking into a rendition of the 70s Steam hit, Na Na, Hey Hey; Kiss Him Goodbye. At one point before leaving, the man had wondered aloud why he was the only one present opposing the hatefest. Actually, there were others about 100 others a half-mile away on the other end of the park, holding signs that read Love for All, with many wearing rainbow umbrella-hats to keep the sun from roasting them.
It was that half-mile distance that kept the peace. Several members of the left-wing John Brown Gun Club, in green shirts with their signature red kerchiefs tied around their necks, were at the peacenik shindig, ostensibly to protect it. Unlike at other events the lefty militia has attended, they were not carrying long guns.
A Hatewatch reporter inquired of JBGC spokeswoman Fallon Leyba if her people were unarmed.
Not necessarily, she responded, cagily. Definitely on the more subtle side. Asked if the JBGC planned to confront their counterparts in the Arizona Liberty Guard nearby, she replied in the negative, saying JBGC was present merely as security, with the permission of the counter-demonstration s organizer, Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Deedra Abboud. A convert to Islam who is originally from Arkansas and speaks with a Southern accent, Abboud is an attorney and former director of the Arizona branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR.
She said she organized the event, part of a national effort hashtagged #CounterACTHate, because she didn t want others defining her religion for her.
Muslims can t even decide what all the guidance [from Sharia] is, she explained to Hatewatch at the event. So I don t want anyone else tellin me what my religion is, including other Muslims. Abboud said she agreed to the JBGC s presence because they offered to act as a human shield against any hostile forces. She also explained that since she announced her candidacy in April, one meet-and-greet she held at a local restaurant had been protested by alt-righters because she is Muslim.
But so far, other than online trolling, she said she had not received any threats elevated to a level where she felt the need to report them to law enforcement. For the record, she stated that she supports the separation of mosque and state.
I wear the scarf because I want to wear the scarf, she said. But I swear to you, if someone forced me to wear it, I d be the first one to take it off in protest. Still, demonstrators at the ACT rally took a more black-and-white view of Sharia, Islam and Abboud herself.
Beneath the shade of a tree, where attendees sought to beat the 102-degree heat, one anti-Sharia speaker described the crowd as Deedra-plorables, calling Abboud, an Islamist from CAIR. Lesa Antone, one of the rally s organizers, took special offense at Abboud s counter-demonstration and the fact that Abboud had blocked many of them from commenting on her social media sites.
We really, really need to stay on top of her because she is no bueno, Antone said, later adding, She has to be stopped from getting a [Senate] seat in our state. Other attendees and speakers griped about Abboud being an instigator and pointed to her former work for the Muslim advocacy group CAIR as evidence in their minds that Abboud somehow has ties to terrorism.
As for Sharia and Islam in general, both the speakers and the audience seemed agree that they were no bueno as well. Antone summed up the message of the day, thus:
Islam is our enemy. And I don t care, they can call me a hater, they can call me a whatever Islam s our enemy. Sharia law is not for America. Sharia is incredibly complex and applied differently in many nations across the world. These varying Islamic religious laws and legal interpretations address numerous topics everything from dietary restrictions and marriage to sexual conduct and piety.
In certain countries, more severe, fundamentalist interpretations of Sharia may mandate punishments as harsh as lashing or death. But in Israel, for instance, there are Sharia courts, funded by the Israeli government, which issue rulings on religious and family matters for Muslim citizens. Those at the rally, however, saw Sharia as a threat to American democracy, despite the U.S. Constitution s prohibition on the government s establishment of religion, making such fears seem paranoid in the extreme.
Speakers read printed statements describing child brides, honor killings and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), all of which they said was sanctioned or imposed by Sharia. Dr. Carl Goldberg, a self-taught anti-Islam lecturer who claims to have a PhD in European and Russian history, lectured the crowd on the existential threats that Islam poses to the United States. One of these, he contended, was mass Muslim immigration, because Muslims don t assimilate, and bring with them all of the ideological baggage that Islam has.
As for Islam itself, Goldberg opined that it was a totalitarian and imperialist ideology, which he said was something like Communism, something like Nazi-sm. He also accused both of Arizona s Republican U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain of being on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood. Following his speech, Goldberg admitted to this reporter that he does not speak Arabic, but he insisted this was unimportant because he had made a complete study of Islamic religious texts translated into English and vetted by Islamic religious leaders.
He said he had also traveled to the Middle East, visited mosques and spoken with imams, all of which allows him to speak with authority on the subject. Hatewatch asked Goldberg if he spoke Russian and if he believed an expert in Russian history, such as himself, should speak Russian.
Oh, yes, he replied, immune to the irony. If you want to read the original documents, yes. Other speakers sometimes got downright emotional, offering intimate details of their personal histories.
Referring to a case in Michigan where two doctors and one other person described by media there as being members of an Indian-Muslim sect have been charged by federal authorities with performing FGM, which is illegal in the U.S., Antone said she believed that there are more doctors involved, but that they haven t been caught yet.
How many do you suppose are actually performing it? she asked rhetorically. Because you know, when I was drinking, I drank and drove for 10 years before I got a DUI. Another speaker, Joanne Selena Lopez Cervantez, a self-identified “transsexual” anti-illegal immigration activist, gave a stirring address, stating that she had done so many things that go against every possible religion out there.
I went with gangs, she said, I did dope. She claimed that her dad was a pedophile, and though he didn t molest her, this was why she strongly opposed Sharia.
They are pedophiles, she said, not making exactly clear whom they referred to.
Hatewatch contacted Cervantez via Facebook and asked if she meant, by her statement that all Muslims are pedophiles.
This, I truly don t know, she wrote, claiming that she had read and seen accounts of child brides and little boys dressed as dancing girls, and that these were the basis for her statement during her speech. Other rally-goers seemed to share a similarly nefarious perception of Islam and Sharia. Demonstrators carried signs reading, Protesters, why are you for Female Genital Mutilation? and Stop Sharia Law, as well as Rape-fugees Not Welcome.
One man carried two handmade signs with photos of mutilated women and children, with a chart affixed to one that read Sharia for Dummies. T-shirts ranged from one that stated, You cannot coexist with people who want to kill you, to Fuck Islam! and Proud Infidel. The last was worn by one of the based stickmen present, who said he objected to Sharia because he said it was anti-woman.
Nearby was a guy in a Punch an Antifa shirt who identified himself as a member of the Arizona Proud Boys, part of a national movement founded by comedian and Fox channel commentator Gavin McInnes. What made him and his associates Proud Boys, Hatewatch wondered?
We re proud Western chauvinists and we will not apologize for creating the modern world, he answered. Another Proud Boy on hand explained that the group was more a fraternity than anything, and that they were pro-Second Amendment and pro-freedom of speech.
Hatewatch asked about their oft-cited no-wanking policy. They explained that a Proud Boy can only masturbate once a month, the idea being that refraining from such activity will encourage young men to seek the company of real-life women. Their more militant stickmen pals were dressed outlandishly in capes made of Gadsden and German flags, wearing helmets that were affixed with stickers of the Confederate Stars and Bars and Pepe the Frog. Many wore goggles and body armor of one sort or another. One particularly large, bearded stickman said he had just taken a lot of his gear off, because it didn t seem like he needed it.
Asked why he wore it to begin with, he laughed:
I bought all this shit, I might as well wear it once, man. Another stickman told Hatewatch that other then his flagpole, he had a gun, pepper spray and a knife beneath his clothing, just in case. Add to such preparedness, the presence that day of some 20 or so Arizona Liberty Guard militiamen in fatigues with AR-15s, perhaps a dozen Oath Keepers bearing weapons, and a crowd armed to the teeth in right-to-carry Arizona, and the peace-and-love crowd was probably wise to keep its distance.
Hatewatch asked a stickman if he was disappointed that antifa didn t show up so the two sides could throw down.
Yeah, you could say that, he smiled. Next time.
- ^ March Against Sharia (www.splcenter.org)
- ^ Arizona Liberty Guard (www.splcenter.org)
- ^ John Brown Gun Club (www.phoenixnewtimes.com)
- ^ Deedra Abboud (deedra2018.com)
- ^ one meet-and-greet she held at a local restaurant had been protested (www.phoenixnewtimes.com)
- ^ described by media there as being members of an Indian-Muslim sect (www.freep.com)
- ^ Joanne Selena Lopez Cervantez (www.phoenixnewtimes.com)
- ^ founded by comedian and Fox channel commentator Gavin McInnes (www.splcenter.org)