Newly leaked documents reveal insane counterterrorism tactics used against Standing Rock water protectors

Surveillance tactics used by the company include social media information harvesting, aerial surveillance and radio eavesdropping and infiltration of camps and activist circles.


According to newly leaked internal documents obtained by The Intercept, a mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan was hired and collaborated with police in at least five states to target the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters.

TigerSwan was hired by Energy Transfer Partners, owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The mercenary group originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor.

The documents paint a violent picture of the Standing Rock water protectors. Internal communications describe the anti-DAPL movement as “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component” and compare the water protectors to jihadist fighters countless times. At one point, a report states that the movement “generally follows the jihadist insurgency model while active,” and that “while we can expect to see the continued spread of the anti-DAPL diaspora … aggressive intelligence preparation of the battlefield and active coordination between intelligence and security elements are now a proven method of defeating pipeline insurgencies.”

NationofChange can personally confirm that we experienced no such indication that any of the water protectors acted as if they were like jihadist fighters while we were at the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock in North Dakota.

Furthermore, documents show that TigerSwan conducted sweeping and invasive surveillance of the pipeline protesters. The company was responsible for portraying the water protectors as unpredictable and menacing in order to justify the outrageous tactics they were using.

Energy Transfer Partners is not stopping there, though. They have retained TigerSwan to focus on other pipeline projects. A portion of the leaked documents includes situation reports from TigerSwan operatives in other states, such as South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Texas, anywhere from September 2016 to May 2017. These reports detail the surveillance and intelligence gathered by TigerSwan on pipeline opponents and upcoming protests.

Surveillance tactics used by the company include social media information harvesting, aerial surveillance and radio eavesdropping and infiltration of camps and activist circles.

Additional documents obtained via public records requests show communications between several government groups, such as the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Justice Department, and state and local police who all worked together to monitor the protest, including gathering information from social media to share it with others in this “Intel Group.”

To view the leaked documents, as well as read more about the entire investigation, head over to The Intercept.

Tell the Trump administration to stop Big Oil from completing the Dakota Access Pipeline:


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Alexandra Jacobo is a dedicated progressive writer, activist, and mother with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and political engagement. Her journey into political activism began in 2011 at Zuccotti Park, where she supported the Occupy movement by distributing blankets to occupiers, marking the start of her earnest commitment to progressive causes. Driven by a desire to educate and inspire, Alexandra focuses her writing on a range of progressive issues, aiming to foster positive change both domestically and internationally. Her work is characterized by a strong commitment to community empowerment and a belief in the power of informed public action. As a mother, Alexandra brings a unique and personal perspective to her activism, understanding the importance of shaping a better world for future generations. Her writing not only highlights the challenges we face but also champions the potential for collective action to create a more equitable and sustainable world.