Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 14, 2023

Whose Documents did DAPL Take? Inside the Files of TigerSwan

Standing Rock Oct. 27, 2016. Photo by Rob Wilson Photography.

Inside the Files: There are reasons to re-read the TigerSwan spy files from Standing Rock

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
May 14, 2023

Whose documents did TigerSwan take on October 27, 2016, from the camps at Standing Rock?

Those were significant enough for the North Dakota security board to list in its complaint against TigerSwan for working without a license.

There are many reasons to re-read the spy files of TigerSwan. Recently, The Intercept received 50,000 more TigerSwan spy files as a result of its court battle.

There is also another reason: the abrupt change in the prosecution of the driver of the truck killing Paiute journalist Myron Dewey, resulting in an unexplained change to a charge of a misdemeanor in Nevada.

TigerSwan exposed by North Dakota security board

Hidden away in the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board's documents are the details of TigerSwan's spying in Standing Rock, including this fact.

The North Dakota security board said TigerSwan took documents from camp on Oct. 27, 2016, and used those to provide security updates to Energy Transfer and others. TigerSwan, military operatives in Iraq and Afghanistan, was hired by Energy Transfer, owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
 (Above) Excerpt from the complaint served to TigerSwan by the State of North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board

In its response, TigerSwan told the security board that other security contractors took the documents. TigerSwan's response on August 10, 2017:

October 27, 2016, was the day of the brutal attack by militarized police on Standing Rock water protectors, and the same day that Red Fawn was arrested. She was charged with having a gun -- that was placed in her coat pocket by an undercover FBI infiltrator in camp, Heath Harmon of Fort Berthold.

Credit: The Intercept

Whose documents were taken on October 27, where were they taken from, and what did they say? Those are unanswered questions so far. 

The North Dakota securities board notified TigerSwan when it began work in North Dakota in September of 2016 that it was working without a license. When TigerSwan applied for a license, it was denied. Initially, TigerSwan was denied a license because it failed to include the arrest of the CEO James Reese for an assault on his wife. (Reese recently worked in the oil industry in Syria.)

TigerSwan, in its attempts to gain a license in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017, claimed that most of its work was done at its offices in North Carolina. TigerSwan denied it provided security guards armed with semi-automatic weapons and placed undercover agents in the Standing Rock camps.

The TigerSwan spy files leaked to The Intercept, and found in public court records, reveal the facts. The Intercept has exposed some of the infiltrators hired by TigerSwan that were in the camps.

TigerSwan told the North Dakota securities board that its employer, Energy Transfer,
hired the air surveillance of Standing Rock camps.

The North Dakota security board, in its complaint, lists the work that TigerSwan performed for Energy Transfer, without a license, in the water protector camps, beginning in September of 2016.

(Above) Complaint served on TigerSwan by North Dakota security board, June 12, 2017

Ultimately, the North Dakota securities board found TigerSwan did work without a license and has now made 50,000 spy documents available to The Intercept. The North Dakota Supreme Court upheld the decision. Meanwhile, TigerSwan's employer, Energy Transfer, was in court in an attempt to halt the release of the documents, even filing suit against TigerSwan.

There are other unanswered questions: Who gave the order to fire rubber bullets and tear gas at close range, and use tasers on that day, resulting in vast injuries. Snipers were placed in the hills. Why did Obama refuse to intervene, and stop the police violence, when asked to by Cheyenne River Chairman Harold Frazier?

What exact roles were played out by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Billings, and the National Sheriffs Association, who are listed in TigerSwan's communications, which began in early September of 2016, shortly after the attack with dogs on Standing Rock water protectors.

Myron Dewey at Standing Rock

Reading through the documents, it is clear that Myron Dewey was tracked by security companies of Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. Myron's photographs, and videos by way of drones, revealed security operatives -- and law enforcement -- including their faces. Those likely include the faces of unlicensed security working, at Standing Rock.

TigerSwan spy files show Myron was under surveillance in both Standing Rock and Iowa.

Police shoot at a water protector's drone at Standing Rock. Photo courtesy Myron Dewey.

The TigerSwan spy files also reveal its detailed surveillance of sovereign nations and their leaders --  Standing Rock Lakota Nation in North Dakota, and Cheyenne River Lakota Chairman Harold Frazier in South Dakota.

TigerSwan's surveillance in Iowa included extensive stalking of individuals. TigerSwan also listed the fact that off-duty police officers were available for hire by the pipeline in Iowa. In Chicago, TigerSwan used hidden cameras and listed details of protests. In its sales pitch for more work, TigerSwan used the photos and names of Native and non-Native pipeline resisters across the nation.

Protecting Peehee Mu'huh, Thacker Pass, from lithium mining

Meanwhile, in his last days, Myron was delivering supplies to the resistance at Thacker Pass in northern Nevada in his Paiute homeland. There, Paiute are opposing a lithium mine on the Paiute Massacre Site, where Paiutes were murdered by U.S. soldiers.

Myron Dewey's post on July 5, 2021, less than three months before he was killed on Sept. 26, 2021.

The Thacker Pass mining permit is for a foreign mining company, Lithium Americas of Vancouver, Canada. It was issued by Biden and Interior Sec. Deb Haaland's Bureau of Land Management.

The mining permit was upheld by a federal court in Nevada, even though it is a violation of federal laws, including those protecting Native American religious freedom, and environmental laws, including the disposal of waste rock. Currently, Paiute elders are blockading the trucks and the water pipeline for the mine, which will extract vast amounts of water from this pristine and arid region.

Biden celebrates this as "green energy," mining lithium for electric vehicle batteries.

On the day before he was killed by the driver of a truck who hit him head-on, Myron live-streamed from the Fallon bombing range and opposed its vast expansion. Ultimately, after his death, the Navy Seals bombing range at Fallon, Nevada, was approved for expansion, after a push from Nevada Congressmen. The expansion was approved by Congress and signed into law by Biden in the military spending bill for 2023.

Hidden away in the files of the bombing range are the facts, including this one: There was a napalm burn site and it was linked to a cancer cluster of children of Fallon Paiute Shoshone. The reckless burn pits at military bombing sites throughout the region contaminated the groundwater. Today, the Fallon bombing range is approved for live bombing, live weapons, and electromagnetic warfare.

Now, Paiute elders place their bodies on the line in front of the lithium mining trucks at Peehee Mu'huh, Thacker Pass. Descendants of Paiute massacre survivors said  Paiutes are the descendants of Wovoka, they are the descendants of the Ghost Dancers.

(Above) Rob Wilson Photography photos at Standing Rock, October 27, 2016. More photos at Censored News:

More from Censored News:

Nevada prosecutor changes the charge to a misdemeanor for John Walsh of Reno, Nevada, the driver of the truck killing Myron Dewey. The brief court session in April, 2023, was available on Zoom and reported by Censored News

Nevada court releases the amended charge of a misdemeanor for the driver of the truck killing Myron Dewey. The court tells Censored News it has no record of a plea agreement, by Censored News, April 2023.

The Intercept: Oil and Water series

About the author

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 40 years, beginning at the Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for Lakota Times, Associated Press, and USA Today. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated in 2006 and created Censored News. Now in its 17th year, it is a collective with no ads, salaries or revenues. Norrell has a master's degree in international health.

Article copyright Censored News.

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