Public Servants or Corporate Security?
An Open Letter to Law Enforcement and National Guard in North Dakota
Laduke, Winona; Wright, Ann; Grossman, Zoltanhttp://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/02/public-servants-or-corporate-security-an-open-letter-to-law-enforcement-and-national-guard-in-north-dakota/
Date Written: 02/11/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20130
Detailing the role of the National Guard and law enforcement services as protecting corporate interests opposed to public safety in the context of the North Dakota pipeline protest action, and appealing to these public servants to consider the impact and implications of their role in the conflict.
The trend of state security forces being turned into private corporate security is hardly unique to North Dakota. In his book Resource Rebels, Al Gedicks documents how Nigeria set up a special internal security force to crush Ogoni protests against oil leaks and pipeline explosions. Shell Oil not only admitted funding and arming the military force, but provided access to its boats and helicopters. The commander of the force wrote that Shell operations would be "impossible unless ruthless military operations are undertaken for smooth economic activities to commence." When Ijaw women led protests against Chevrons oil pollution, the company flew in police and military personnel that killed unarmed protesters.
For Guard personnel, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Article 92) establishes a duty to obey lawful orders, but also a duty to disobey unlawful orders to that are clearly contrary to the Constitution. "I was just following orders" is not a legal defense for harming or violating the rights of civilians. If you feel you are being given an unlawful order to do so, you can legally send an "appeal for redress" to Congress that is protected under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. You probably know quiet, creative ways to "work-to-rule," and share vital information about unlawful actions, to help slow down the madness. And if in doubt, you can always kneel and pray for guidance.