#NoDAPL Activist on Trial Claims There Should Be No Consequences for Protecting Water

Dakota Access Pipeline opponents sing prayer songs Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, as they vacate the Oceti Sakowin camp near Cannon Ball, N.D., ahead of the evacuation deadline. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

If you needed more evidence for the idea that some factions of the environmental movement are convinced that tactics like violence and vandalism are justified by their cause, consider this press release from the Lakota People’s Law Project.

It’s announcing the impending delivery of what they allege are more than 50,000 petition signatures asking a North Dakota prosecutor to drop all criminal charges against so-called “water protectors” arrested during the violent #NoDAPL protests.

These people say some really crazy stuff, and unfortunately not a lot of it gets reported by the news media. Yet it deserves attention. Stuff like this, which has one HolyElk Lafferty (currently invoking the “necessity defense” against pending criminal charges) saying their should be no consequences for environmental activists (emphasis mine):

Lafferty was among 76 people arrested at Last Child Camp on February 1. She and fellow Lakota People’s Law Project client Chase Iron Eyes intend to present a rare “necessity defense,” arguing they had no choice but to protest the pipeline given its potential to cause greater harm to their communities and the planet.

Lafferty said she, Iron Eyes, and hundreds of others either being defended by the Water Protectors Legal Collective or currently without representation are innocent of all charges. “Nobody should suffer consequences for protecting our only source of water,” said Lafferty. “I’m pursuing my case because it’s important to set a new legal precedent for protectors of the Earth. ”

For months #NoDAPL protesters trespassed. They vandalized. They instigated violent confrontations with law enforcement. Yet to hear them tell it, they’re victims for which there should be no consequences?

Give me a break. But the zany doesn’t stop there. The press release also rails against capitalism, which tell us this political movement may just be using environmentalism as a cloak for more nefarious political purpose:

Lafferty asserted that, even once the petitions are dropped and the cases are over, the movement created at Standing Rock will live on.

“The veil was lifted and now there are millions of people staring straight at the dysfunction created by capitalism, and specifically the fossil fuel industry” she said. “Standing Rock activated a sense of responsibility in each of us, a sense of courage. People saw what we were doing on the ground and people became active within their own environments. Now there are many, many people out there who, because of what they did for Standing Rock, know they have the power to make change.”

The protesters will be dropping their petitions off today at the state’s attorney’s office in Mandan at 11am. As it happens, there is also a hearing today in Lafferty’s case pertaining to whether or not her defense team will be able to pursue discovery in support of her “necessity defense,” which is the idea that her criminal actions were justified by the environmental threat of the pipeline.

The ends justify the means, in other words.

These people are scary.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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