The language of Enbridge, the pipeline company that moves dirty Tar Sands oil south from Canada, is an example of “Corporate Counterinsurgency.” There can be only one outcome: traumatizing and victimizing the indigenous led opposition to pipelines passing through Indian Country.

By Alleen Brown, The Intercept

As part of its efforts to build and operate pipelines, the oil transport company Enbridge used a tracking system that identified Indigenous-led groups as key threats. Internal documents reviewed by The Intercept describe how Enbridge launched an initiative known as Opposition Driven Operational Threats, or ODOT, to focus the company’s attention on Indigenous opposition to Line 3 and Line 5, two controversial pipelines that transport carbon-intensive tar sands oil between Canada and the United States.

Opposition to pipelines
Photo by Jen Castro

The documents provide a rare window into how fossil fuel companies counteract political opposition. In Enbridge’s case, its ODOT initiative goes so far as to track community gatherings of pipeline opponents and label tribal lands as areas where the company faces threats. “To the rest of us, ‘threat’ means actual threats to life and liberty, but to them this is all about how much money they can extract while carrying out an operation that is environmentally devastating,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s Center for Protest Law and Litigation and an attorney representing opponents of Line 3. “You begin to have this perversion of concepts of what actually are true threats.”

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