As we get deeper into the Trump era, with every day that passes it appears that every kind of protection and right seems to be under attack by the administration for what the President says is to protect national security and/or jobs. The administration's effort to attack environmental protections is thoroughly aggressive, from selecting people to lead government agencies who promise to end those protections to militarized law enforcement on the ground.

Pipeline protests

Last year, the standing rock sioux tribe of North Dakota made headlines when they faced security personnel who were hired by Energy Transfer Partners in order to protect the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which the tribe said threatened their environment and their sacred sites.

The world watched as security personnel released attack dogs on the protesters (a.k.a water protectors), which was a clear call for others nationwide and around the world to come to the site and help protest. The Intercept reported last week that the same corporation hired a Mercenary security firm referred to as TigerSwan who used counterterrorism measures against protesters at the site.

Water-protectors profiled as religious terrorists

The Intercept said that TigerSwan collaborated pretty closely with police in at least five states. In documents obtained by the Intercept -- over 100 pages leaked and over 1,000 through public request -- they reveal communications which described the anti-DAPL movement as an ideologically insurgent group with a strong religious component who were compared to jihadist fighters.

The documents also asserted that after the movement collapses -- which they correctly anticipated that it would with the heavy hand of a Trump administration -- to expect those individuals involved to "follow a post-insurgency model" afterward.

Development of authoritarian state

The documents also confirm what many had already anticipated at the time of the protest, that law enforcement was conducting sweeping and invasive surveillance of protesters.

The way the Intercept views this is that, with the kind of coordinated effort that TigerSwan made with local law enforcement, and what was gathered from all of the documents collected, is that the militarized approach to undermine the protest group could only be seen as having anti-democratic implications. This certainly appears to be the case with a Department of Justice whose attorney general Jeff Sessions has promised to make law enforcement more aggressive and protect them from criticism, along with the passing of laws in various states attempting to criminalize protests.

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