Aug 5, 2017 - Bellingham NoDAPL Coalition Continue to Fight to keep Private Information Safe

UPDATE: Fight Continues to keep private information safe. Local official borrow ND TigerSwan tactics to quell civil disobedience

Bellingham, WA – In a hearing held Monday 7/31/17, Attorney Michael Brodsky unwaveringly challenged a warrant seeking to silence political speech and the unlawful search of private information. Local community supporters of the Red Line Salish Sea (formerly known as the Bellingham #NoDAPL Coalition) filled the courtroom Monday 7/31/17 to oppose the warrant served on the community Facebook page, as well as to show support to Brodsky as he argued for the warrant to be quashed.

Superior Court Judge Charles R. Snyder presided over the hearing. A request was made to have a new Judge hear the case. Judge Snyder signed all three of the search warrants to search the community Facebook page. The motion to request a new judge was made because Judge Snyder may be too overly committed and invested in seeing the warrant served to ultimately prosecute political activists. The motion was denied.

At the hearing, Judge Snyder ruled in favor of granting the warrant, but immediately stayed (put on hold) the warrant pending another hearing to hear the facts brought by Brodsky.

This warrant against the Red Line Salish Sea formerly the Bellingham #NoDAPL Coalition stands to set a dangerous precedent if the stay is granted to go forward. Doing so could endanger any American citizen who has a constitutionally protected right to stand up against what they believe is unjust. Brodsky said in an interview after the hearing, “The State is seeking information that chills that free speech! It makes people afraid to express themselves. It makes people afraid to get onto that website or join that organization.”

The third warrant served on Facebook seeks:

1. All profile information including any administrator or moderator profiles.
2. ID numbers, including linked personal profile ID’s associated with any administrator or moderator. Any status updates, messages, videos, photographs, articles, wall postings, event postings, comments, and tags.
3. Any images or videos shared by, posted to and uploaded to the page (by any user).
4. Event information including Facebook account names an ID#’s of people included in the Guest section of the event (to include those who are “interested”, “going”, and “invited”.
5. Discussion posts.
6. The identity of political activist and individuals involved in the I-5 freeway protest.
7. Finally, any remaining information not pertaining to the case will be returned to the Courts for sealing.
Historically, Indigenous Water Protectors across the U.S. and world-wide have faced violent opposition from the fossil fuel industry and the governments that support them.

In fact, this year on May 27, 2017 an online news The Intercept, leaked documents to the public which revealed that the private US security and intelligence company TigerSwan created by retired Army Col. James Reese, was in collaboration with local, state and federal law enforcement to use counterterrorism tactics to surveil activist’s social media pages, infiltrate, and subdue, peaceful Water Protectors.

In other words, Intercept wrote: “In one internal report dated May 4, a TigerSwan operative describes an effort to amass digital and ground intelligence that would allow the company to “find, fix, and eliminate” threats to the pipeline – an eerie echo of “find, fix, finish,” a military term used by special forces in the U.S. government’s assassination campaign against terrorist targets.

The warrant to access the local Water Protectors Facebook page dangerously mirrors the tactics used by TigerSwan. In fact, at the 7/31/17 Superior court hearing the Whatcom County Prosecutor stated they intend to charge those involved with the political protest with: “Reckless Endangerment, Disorderly Conduct for obstructing vehicle traffic, potentially Criminal Trespass.” Law enforcement and local governments are preparing to stop and charge anyone who may oppose any fossil fuel construction.

Whatcom County is a thoroughfare for several proposed pipeline projects that threaten tribal sovereignty, the environment, and property owner’s rights in the county, where companies are currently trying to use eminent domain to lay their lines. This warrant ultimately serves these projects and those who are intimately connected and seek to profit from these projects.

The next hearing on the Facebook warrant is likely be held late August 2017. Supporters are encouraged to contact the Whatcom County Prosecutor David McEachran at Whatcom County Prosecutor, 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 201, Bellingham, WA 98225, 360-676-6784, to voice your opinions.

The warrant served on Facebook is here:

Last Real Indians