An advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement is working with a Los Angeles screenwriter to assemble 2,000 veterans in North Dakota. The goal is a four-day protest action against law enforcement over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
An “operations order” for those participating in the event “Veterans Stand for Standing Rock” lists Wes Clark Jr. and Michael Wood Jr. as initial organizers of the December 5-7 activist action.
Protesters have been camped out for months in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. Their numbers reach into the thousands on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land, according to Reuters.
Wood equated the Standing Rock protest action and Black Lives Matter as the “same thing!” in a November 14 tweet:
— Michael A. Wood Jr. (@MichaelAWoodJr) November 14, 2016
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) will join the protesting veterans on Sunday.
The event listing on Facebook instructs protesters, “Bring Body armor, gas masks, earplugs AND shooting mufflers (we may be facing a sound cannon) but no drugs, alcohol or weapons.” It went on to state that “hate, violence or divisive behaivor [sic]” would not be tolerated. Also on the packing list was a note to not bring “medical cannabis” as the list states it is illegal where the group will be.
The operations order refers to the Morton County Sheriff’s office, state police agencies and “private security contractors” as the “enemy” and “opposing forces.”
The order goes on to state that protesters are putting their “bodies on the line” and that the “Water Protectors” are leaders against what they call the “evil” they face “globally, saving ourselves and our children from the apocalyptic outcome of climate change.”
The stated “desired end state” of the action is to create an “uproar in the country” and “halt construction of new projects in the gas and oil industry.”
The group is scheduled to “muster” at school gymnasiums on December 4 then participate in ritual cleansing with Standing Rock Sioux tribal elders on December 5. That same day, according to the operations order, “A few veteran members of US House of Representatives will hold a press conference to confirm the rightness of our cause to the national press.”
On December 5, 6 and 7 the group is to be transported to the “front lines” to form a human line linked arm in arm and, according to plans for December 5, “marching” toward an “encounter.”
Several hundred participants are to be housed by the Fort Yates school system while others are expected to house in tents or vehicles.
In a video promoting the event that is listed on the order, event organizer Michael Wood Jr. eludes to anticipation of showing video of law enforcement “brutally” beating military veterans. Wood is listed as a veteran and former Baltimore police officer.
The video also identifies Wood as a “vocal advocate” of the “Black Lives Matter Movement” and for “police reform.”
A link in Clark’s Facebook profile leads to a Twitter account which states Clark’s location is Los Angeles, California. His Facebook profile states that he works as a screen writer and “occasionally guest hosts on The Young Turks progressive internet show.”
Clark’s father is retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, according to Reuters.
A GoFundMe campaign also created by Clark for the event showed almost $700,000 raised in 19 days as of Wednesday afternoon. Legal fees are listed as one of the dedicated uses of funds along with transportation, supplies, gear and onsite infrastructure.
On Monday North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered a mandatory evacuation of the area where pipeline protesters have been gathered for months. The governor’s order cited potentially life-threatening winter weather conditions. The evacuation order also cited a United States Army Corps of Engineers order for evacuation of the Morton County area where protesters have set up camp.
A Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman wrote in an email to Reuters that the department was aware of the activists’ event planned for early December, but did not comment on how law enforcement planned to respond.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana