Energy

Veterans Divided Over Dakota Pipeline Protests

REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

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Chris White Tech Reporter

A North Dakota veterans group warned veterans to stay away from Dakota oil pipeline protesters, because of their history of “assaulting our law enforcement officers.”

Russ Stabler, chairman of the North Dakota Veterans Coordinating Council, called upon the state’s veterans to steer clear of those opposing the so-called DAPL, a multi-billion dollar pipeline slated to run from North Dakota to Illinois.

“Slaughtering livestock, throwing Molotov cocktails and assaulting our law enforcement officers is not the military manner in which our veterans behave and not the kind of assembly and actions veterans should be part of,” Stabler, a Vietnam veteran, said Thursday about the protesters.

He added: “Participating in this kind of assembly, even as a peaceful bystander or participant, will only mar the image of veterans in our nation.”

Nearly 2,000 veterans are planning to wear armor and gas masks in conflicts with police officers during demonstrations against DAPL.

Veterans Stand for Standing Rock said Thursday they will be facing “enemy” force in the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, as well as those in “state police agencies and private security contractors.”

The veterans group has raised more than $726,000 on a crowdsourcing website in hopes of sending veterans to support Standing Rock Sioux, the American Indian group opposing the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline.

Standing Rock has consistently argued the so-called DAPL would trample on tribal lands and possibly poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

Stabler said he doesn’t like the riffraff populating the Standing Rock campsites, and believes veterans should not pal around with the pipeline’s opponents.

“It is degrading to a veteran to see the American flag disgraced and improperly displayed and disrespected,” he said, adding that these kinds of actions are normal at Standing Rock.

“Standing by those who conduct or have conducted this type of behavior cannot instill a good image on our veterans or our veterans community.”

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