TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Facts You Won’t Hear About The DAPL

Here are some facts that you won’t hear from the pipeline shills and propagandists:

• The tribe was not offered millions to allow the pipeline. That planted rumor was denied by Dakota Access Pipeline folks themselves. A stupid rumor considering the pipeline follows an established corridor.

• The tribes were consulted by the U.S. Army Corps on the water. Nope. The Environmental Protection Agency wrote a letter to the Corps on March 11, 2016 calling for a second review period.

“The Draft EA also did not include any information on coordination and consultation with tribal governments other than in connection to historic and cultural resource impacts. For example, no Tribes were included in Chapter 7 (page 81) listing federal, tribal, state and local agency consultation and coordination. We recommend that Tribal consultation and coordination be more thoroughly addressed and the related information be added to the revised Draft EA.”

• The campers are trespassing on U.S .Army Corps of Engineers land. Unless the Corps complains, and they haven’t, they have defacto permission.

• The area near the pipeline’s path contained a significant archeological find — stones arranged like the Big Dipper, which holds great meaning for the Lakota and played a part in ceremonies. This was found 75 feet from the proposed DAPL corridor. Very rare. This is particularly important as it is near a burial site. A stone likeness of Bear Medicine Healer was found a few feet from the path of the pipeline. Archeologist Tim Mentz said he was a great man, “beyond reproach.” This may have been Bear Medicine Healer’s place of fasting.

Also found in the direct path of the pipeline are stones assembled in the shape of the Strong Heart Society Staff, an indicator the place was meant for spiritual journeys and prayers. Metz and his team documented 82 stone features and at least 27 burials. They were not allowed to survey the actual corridor. How much was lost to the bulldozers?

The pipeline contracted its own surveyors for the project. With $3.8 billion on the line, a suspicious person might think they were paid not to find anything.

• This may be the first time journalists have been charged with trespassing while doing their job in North Dakota. Some people might think it is an intimidation tactic. Because the facts do not seem to be matching up with the narrative. All the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed, so full speed ahead, right?

Judge: “You, Amy Goodman, you stand accused of three counts of journalism … How do you plead?”

AG: “Awesome, your honor.”

• The latest front on the propaganda war: DAPL claims that $10 million in damage has been done to heavy equipment. Photos of gravel around a gas tank. Cut hydraulic hoses and one low tire. Bring them in to Tony’s Fix It Shop. I can get it fixed for $10 million. Hey, vandalism is a bad idea. But based on the information we’ve heard coming from DAPL employees — still looking for evidence of EIGHT LARGE KNIVES — after the altercation Labor Day weekend, they have little credibility.

• State officials say the cost of mismanaging this protest stands at $1.8 million. Mainly for policing. Everyone knows you need a busload of cops to arrest a score of unarmed protesters. The monthly cost of a 23 percent cut in oil taxes for big oil? An estimated $11 million. Morton County said it is costing $100,000 a week to police this. I guess disarming pipe bombs is expensive. Admittedly, they, and the HP have had a lot to deal with. But you can’t just overinflate your reports. At least substantiate. A hot rumor shouldn’t go in the official report.

It seems much of this crisis has been manufactured. Complaining about the cost of your own overreaction is a little like holding a parade and not wanting to pay the marching band.

Yes, costs are valid. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, some protesters have acted poorly and broken laws. But at every turn, the state seems to be writing a book: “The Worst Possible Way to do Public Relations.”

Trotting out the riot gear on the Capitol grounds is bad optics. Sure, keep law enforcement on standby. But maybe most could stay inside the building. Maybe no one has noticed, but the tough-guy act has not broken up the party. Patience. Cool heads. Be the good guys not the storm troopers.

• And finally, Governor, when are you going to stand up for the interests of North Dakota citizens —- even the brown ones —- over those of Big Oil? When a pipeline gets moved south because it is too unsafe for the citizens in Bismarck, it looks bad when you aim it at the heads of tribes downstream in two states.

When you try to muscle them into capitulation, you get what you have now — worldwide attention — and not the good kind. There were more than 200 rallies in the USA this week in support of the tribes, including one at the White House.

The strategy of sitting on your hands until the kettle boiled over didn’t work. Shaking your fist isn’t working. Reach out. Talk. Talk to rest of the people in North Dakota, too. Tell them to simmer down. Lead.

19 thoughts on “TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Facts You Won’t Hear About The DAPL”

  • Jan Zahrly September 14, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Did you just suggest that the governor LEAD? Impossible. Alice in Wonderland. peacejanz

  • Marty Riske September 14, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    A conscientious leader would have negotiations going on at the get go. C’mon, Lameduck, get back to work you’re still getting paid.

  • Big Tobacco September 14, 2016 at 10:56 pm


    Seems like some rocks were placed conveniently after the inspection? I have a 3 year old that could make a big dipper out of rocks in under 60 seconds.

    She should plead guilty to cherry picking her footage to fit her narrative. There is a big difference between self defense and attacking protestors. They have a right to defend themselves from trespassing protestors who broke a fence and came through on houses and with pitbulls. Notice how all you ever see in the video is retaliation from security? Never showing what lead to it? Weird how that works out?

    1. Tony September 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Video on this site on a report I did shows security as the aggressors. We were there. Amy Goodmam’s report stands unchallenged for accuracy.

      1. Big Tobacco September 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm

        Unchallenged for accuracy? A guy 50 feet from the group getting tackled, but not showing a single second of leadup to it? What happened as he was wandering away from the group of protesters and got in the face of security? Or are you saying that he was dragged there by security and she wouldn’t have shown that? Haha, you’re pretty naive. I hope that the security footage from the helicopters goes public and you all can see unedited footage that wasn’t chopped up to fit Amy Goodman’s biased narrative.

        Why doesn’t she talk about the natives bringing pitbulls, screeming war calls, or riding on horses? Oh yeah, because it doesn’t support her trip across the country purpose to create a story.

        1. tony September 16, 2016 at 12:49 pm

          One would think that for public relations purposes, it would be advantageous for DAPL to release such damning footage. I wonder why they haven’t. One long shot possibility: DAPL employees initiated the aggression. Heavens, people on horses. But I’m against horse control. When horses are outlawed, only outlaws will have horses. And scary war whoops. Amazing anyone survived.

        2. Bonnie September 21, 2016 at 6:52 am


          1. Bonnie September 21, 2016 at 6:58 am

            Agree with big tobacco

      2. Big Tobacco September 16, 2016 at 11:33 am

        If a fan runs out onto a field during a sporting event, what happens? They get legally taken down, and nobody bats an eye. If Amy Goodman was there, she’d cut out everything up to the person getting tackled by security, then scream “This innocent fan was just viciously tackled by a security mercenary! Why would he do that? He was just exercising his right as a paying fan! ”

        But yes, her report is definitely unchallenged for accuracy. Haha. Thanks I needed a good laugh on a Friday

  • Michael Black September 15, 2016 at 12:00 am

    This little tidbit seems more important than most damning news about the whole process of pipeline approval. Conflict of interest seems too mild a term in characterizing the role Ms. Liaison (Michelle Dippel) played in the fast-tracking of the project. This is akin to having Lynn Helms, former and future oil guy, “regulating” the industry that paid him for 20 years. Same old…


    A review of court documents for the case currently unfolding in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. has revealed that the tribal liaison for Energy Transfer Partners tasked with abiding by Section 106 passed through the revolving door and formerly worked for the Army Corps. The finding also raises key ethical questions in the field of archaeology.

    That liaison — Michelle Dippel — technically works for a Dakota Access LLC contractor named HDR, a company which helps pipeline companies and other oil and gas industry infrastructure companies secure permits for their projects. Dippel, the South Central Region Environmental Services Lead for HDR, began her career as a project manager for the Army Corps’ Fort Worth District and also formerly worked for the natural gas pipeline company Spectra Energy.

  • Mary Berglund September 15, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Tony. I have been an ardent follower of your wit and intellect and most of all pure journalism since I began reading your columns in 1991 – the year I began writing for the unheralded Valley City Times Record. You were my hero then – more even now. I believe you; I trust you and I thank you – for calling it like it is and calling for leadership.

    1. Tony September 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Times have changed but the basics of journalism are alive. Thanks.

  • Martin Davies O'Connor September 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Tony do you have a list of references for the above? I would love to read more details about the actual facts. Thanks again!

    1. Big Tobacco September 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      These are not facts, so don’t hold your breath.

  • tony September 16, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Sorry, this started a facebook post, not a journalism piece but…

    Tribal payoff rumor—KFYR-TV

    EPA—Actual letter from EPA

    Trespassing—Rep. Kevin Cramer, News & Views

    Archeology—Video testimony of Tim Mentz and Teton Times report

    Riot Gear on Capital Grounds—I’ve seen the photos. My son took them.

    Journalists arrested—NDNA Attorney Jack McDonald. No record of it ever happening before.

    $10 million damage—not an official source which is why I question it.

    1. tony September 16, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      Correction: Trespassing— What’s on Your Mind, KFYR, Scott Hennen Show with Rep. Cramer

  • Ranae Wright September 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for passing on this information!

  • Roger Kaseman October 3, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Tony, as usual, you are long on hot air, and short of facts. And too cowardly to debate me on Facebook.

  • gingerfires November 25, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Tony Bender, I thank you for this post – but in the name of “truth” and full disclosed knowledge it is hard to differentiate between fact, fiction, hearsay and propaganda even from your page.

    Full disclosure: I am against the pipeline 100%. I am probably one of the few white folks who also grew up on a reservation (Chippewa, Bena Minnesota).

    Here are the areas I take issue with and see flawed in this debate.

    Relating to your article:

    – why did Standing Rock Sioux have to hire a non-Native to substantiate what they considered “historic” land? I cannot find any findings, even on your site, that Metz sites Sioux juraitiction. If this land was previous historic to the Sioux, why wait til now and have no historic documentation? The appearance by your own blog doesn’t site Sioux.

    – why is Mandan and Arikara tribes omitted? Other documentation suggests it may be burials that relate to them – and unfortunately these are pro-drill, pro-oil and pro-fracking nations.

    – why are the two largest oil spills at the hands of the Fort Berthold Reservation omitted?

    – why is the 1983 Northern Border pipeline omitted?

    – why is the water intake at Mobridge, SD being ignored (this is apparently a shift from Fort Yates)?

    – why can’t you link your facts to your articles, like Tim Metz’s survey.

    Look, even if the oil companies are claiming the pipeline is safe – I don’t buy it. Even if they claim they held meetings informing the Standing Rock Sioux, I don’t buy it. They aren’t providing proof.

    But I also don’t buy the tribal leaders never had a clue on this.

    And as I watch Hollywood jump on board and people turning this into a “white man vs Native American MEME”, I also feel people aren’t asking the questions, but rather jumping to conclusions as they risk their lives.

    I was lucky enough to work a film festival where I met one of the journalists reporting and doing films about Standing Rock. He literally can’t tell any of the tribes apart. He kept telling me the land belongs to “ALL Native Americans”. Well, Manhattan was built on Indian burial grounds. Tribal leaders have different agreements with the federal government. Native Americans aren’t one huge homogenized people who agree on everything.

    Though I do not deny big oil has clearly compromised many, Native Americans aren’t stupid people either! That some tribes have been fighting the federal government for decades to drill proves the concensus on environmentalism is not universal by tribes, and there are often debates amongst tribal people and their leaders on which is the best direction for their tribes to proceed.

    Before I risk my life for a cause, I like to have all the facts, and its seems like bias has clouded “both sides” quite dramatically.

    But I honestly ask these questions in good faith.


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