#NoDAPL Protesters Compared to 'Jihadist Insurgency' by Private Security Firm and Energy Transfer Partners - Leaked Docs
A private security firm which started out as a US military contractor and has been hired by the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to counter indigenous activists protesting its construction, has used "military-style counterterrorism measures," the Intercept reports.
The online publication claims it has obtained over 100 internal documents of the TigerSwan security firm, leaked by one of its contractors, and has studied more than 1,000 documents via public records requests. The papers "reveal that TigerSwan spearheaded a multifaceted private security operation characterized by sweeping and invasive surveillance of protesters," it said.
The Intercept says the information provides "the first detailed picture" of the former US military and State Department contractor's "military style" methods. Its report claimed that the firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners treated the anti-project protesters as jihadists.
In its internal communications, the indigenous-led movement who call themselves water protectors and who tried to prevent the construction of the pipeline, is described by TigerSwan as "an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component."
The movement "generally followed the jihadist insurgency model while active," one of the leaked documents reportedly said, with TigerSwan adding, "we can expect the individuals who fought for and supported it to follow a post-insurgency model after its collapse."
To counter opponents of the pipeline, the private security firm – which was set up "during the height of the war in Iraq" by a former commander in the elite Army special operations unit – has used all methods of intelligence and infiltration, the report said.
Helicopters and drones were deployed for aerial surveillance and radio eavesdropping had been initiated. One of the leaked papers also revealed "plans to obtain night-vision goggles, LRADs [Long Range Acoustic Devices], [and] body armor."
TigerSwan's intelligence-gathering teams also reportedly infiltrated activist circles in various states by "using false names and identities," and forwarded the data to their employer. The firm has also reportedly targeted the movement through a "counter-information campaign" on social media.