UPDATE on Blockader Locks to Underground Capsule to Protect a Family Farm at end.
The efforts to stop the construction of the Keystone / Tar Sands pipeline in East Texas continue. Before a few details, a reminder that this project is supported by both Obama and Romney. From FDL:
‘ … I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.’ – President Obama, speaking about the southern leg of Keystone XL in Cushing, OK (March 22, 2012)
‘If I’m President, we’ll build it if I have to build it myself.’ – Governor Romney, commenting on the Keystone XL pipeline in Pittsburgh, PA (May 4, 2012)
The latter is about as likely to happen as Obama buying a pair of comfortable shoes and joining protestors and activists. Whatever, no doubt arguments have been made that related to the pipeline, one candidate is “less evil” than the other. I’m sure that’s a great comfort to those unfortunate enough to live in the path of the pipeline.
Now, from Tar Sand Blockade, an update, as of this morning:
Blockader Locks to Underground Capsule to Protect a Family Farm
A Tar Sands Blockade protester has stopped the destruction of a small family farm in East Texas by locking himself in front of oncoming Keystone XL clearing equipment. Houston resident, Alejandro de la Torre, 28, is taking action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from destroying the home of yet another Texas family threatened by TransCanada’s poisonous tar sands slurry.
In a powerful display of conviction, De la Torre locked his arm into a concrete capsule buried directly in the proposed path of the toxic pipeline. …
In a separate protest just miles away on the other side of Winnsboro, Tar Sands Blockade’s aerial tree protest enters into its second week. Sitters in platforms nearly 100 feet in the air are not deterred by reckless behavior on the part of TransCanada’s work crews. Despite repeated warning of the dangers on the part of the protesters, the company is encouraging the use of dangerous tree clearing equipment within feet of protesters’ trees, endangering their lives.
Today’s blockade comes less than a week after TransCanada supervisors encouraged law enforcement to brutalize two peaceful protesters who were acting in defense of the largest tree blockade in Texas history.
UPDATES to the action include police arrival, at 9:30 (Central); TransCanada workers bringing shovels, threatening to dig Torre out, at 10:30; TransCanada helicopter circling the area, 11:00; and the arrival of fire and rescue crews, more plain clothes police, 11:30.
In other action happening today, via the Blockade FB page, at the Tree Village:
Heavy clear cutting equipment is operating within feet of our sitters’ safety lines, which if cut could result in their fall and death. We’ve already started contacting OSHA and TransCanada HQ!
The video below, from a few days ago, The Texas Tree Village: Tar Sand Blockade:
On September 24th, eight people climbed 80 feet into trees in the path of Keystone XL construction, and pledged not to come down until the pipeline is stopped for good. Construction cannot proceed until tree-sitters descend and TransCanada clear-cuts through hundreds of trees to make way for the toxic tar sands pipeline.
About the sheriff department’s use of pepper spray and taser, from Tar Sand Blockade, September 26:
Yesterday two Texans, Shannon Beebe and Benjamin Franklin, were subjected to torture tactics at the hands of police under the active encouragement of TransCanada senior supervisors. Beebe and Franklin were exercising their constitutional rights to nonviolent protest when they locked themselves to Keystone XL construction machinery outside Winnsboro, Texas and delayed construction for most of the day. Police began using aggressive pain compliance tactics when a senior TransCanada supervisor named John arrived and actively encouraged it. Torture tactics included; sustained chokeholds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of Tasers, all while blockaders where in handcuffs.
More from Jane Hamsher at FDL:
I spoke with (Blockade spokesperson Ramsey) Sprague today about the use of physical force against two protesters, Shannon Bebe and Benjamin Franklin … .
According to Sprague, Bebe and Franklin began their peaceful protest yesterday at 10:30 am, along with several observers. Sprague indicated that the group’s interactions with the police had been amicable and peaceful until TransCandada representatives showed up and encouraged the police to ‘run off’ the observers.
Once there were no cameras in sight, Sprague says that TransCanada officials huddled with police. Shortly thereafter, the police commenced putting Bebe and Franklin in stress positions by bending their free arms backwards as far as possible and twisting their handcuffed hands backwards, and holding them there for 10 minutes.
Following that, they used the locking mechanisms of their handcuffs to twists their arms badly relative to the pipe the two had connected themselves to. The police then sprayed their arms with pepper spray, burning their skin.
Police then tasered both Bebe and Franklin. Franklin was tased a second time, and the two relented when police threatened to keep tasering them until they did so. …
‘After the torture session ended, John, the senior TransCanada supervisor openly congratulated the aggressive Sheriffs Department Lieutenant on a ‘job well done.’ To which the Lieutenant replied: ‘if this happens again we’ll just skip to using pepper spray and tasing in the first 10 minutes.’’
UPDATE on Blockader Locks to Capsule
UPDATE: 4:00PM – Bulldozer Has Moved in to Level More of the Family Farm …
UPDATE: 3:45PM – Alejandro Has Been Arrested … .
UPDATE: 3:00PM – Police Chiseling Away at the Underground Capsule That Alejandro is Locked Into
UPDATE: 1:25PM – Police Put a Screen Around Alejandro So Observers Can’t Watch and Protect Him …
UPDATE: 1:15PM – Police Attach Hand-Cuffs to Alejandro’s Ankles …
UPDATE: 1:00PM – Police Steal Camera From Observers Standing Nearby on Private Property … .
(Tar Sand Blockade Tree Village Sign via Tar Sands Blockade)