Your Views for January 27

TMT escalation?

The state attorney general is seeking $1.2 million to prepare for responding to civil disobedience.

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He identified the possible renewal of demonstrations on Maunakea, should the current appeals result in the state Supreme Court upholding the Board of Land and Natural Resources decision to grant the permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The attorney general would be well-served to educate himself on what happened at Standing Rock in North Dakota.

Few people are aware that when the first opposition arose to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Lakota people acted to protect their water by calling for prayers and songs. There is a video of Morton County sheriffs dancing with Lakota and non-Lakota “water protectors.” Then a private security firm brought out dogs and sicced them on water protectors. The visuals reminded people of Alabama’s Bull Connor bringing out dogs against peaceful protests during the civil rights movement.

The pipeline company then brought in private mercenaries, who first conducted a propaganda campaign to portray the peaceful and prayerful water protectors as an “ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component” and a “jihadist insurgency.” These quotes are from internal documents of TigerSwan, the lead mercenary organization.

The propaganda targeted the general public with false stories, infiltrated the water protectors to sew dissension and worked over time to convince law enforcement they faced potential terrorists.

As a result of the mercenary poisoning of the public dialogue and the minds of law enforcement personnel, North Dakota purchased $600,000 worth of military equipment, including “pepper spray, flash-bang and smoke grenades, riot helmets, gas masks, night-vision goggles, more than 2,000 rounds of non-lethal ammunition and more” (from The Bismark Tribune).

The private military/security contractors infiltrated spies into the water protector camps. Their internal documents revealed their overall goal was to “delegitimize the anti-DAPL movement.” The FBI placed informants, who encouraged people to carry weapons in the water protectors’ encampment.

Overall, the mercenaries succeeded in convincing law enforcement personnel to implement the “anti-terrorist” template that the mercenaries brought to North Dakota from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. The result was escalation into violence, predominantly on the part of law enforcement.

The opposition to the TMT observed kapu aloha to continuously avoid such escalation and maintain mutual respect between law enforcement and those protecting the mountain.

The attorney general should be careful he is not already attempting to escalate the TMT controversy.

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Lanny Sinkin

Hilo