Two days after the Times virtual "obituary" on Tar Sands Blockade, more than 50 supporters swarmed the construction site and later posted video of their actions and security reactions. October 15 was the biggest action of the blockade to date, with protestors outnumbering security officers roughly 3-1. The main purpose of the action was to re-supply the nine tree-sitters, but protestors also disrupted construction for the day, as they ran around the site and some locked themselves to equipment. Dozens more demonstrated against TransCanada from nearby public land, and there were solidarity rallies in Austin and Denton, Texas, as well as Washington, DC, New York City, and San Francisco.
Security officers made some eight arrests and tackled a 70 year old Cherokee woman, but police violence did not reach earlier levels when officers tortured
two protestors, a man and a woman, using chokeholds, pepper spray, and tasers, while the pair was chained helplessly to a backhoe.
The October 15 action came after TransCanada had clamped down on the area with police-state tactics, as reported by Firedoglake: "Enlisted off-duty police officers are intimidating, harassing and arresting just about anyone they think is trespassing, even if those people happen to be on property they own. And, officers who are acting as armed henchmen for TransCanada have arrested three journalists in the past twenty-four hours for simply being there to report on resistance to the pipeline construction."
Times Reporter Leans Pro-TransCanada, Ignores Basic Issue
One of those arrested on October 10 was Times reporter Dan Frosch, whose dismissive October 13 story minimized the size and significance of the confrontation while heavily quoting TransCanada spokesmen without balancing views. For example, Frosch quoted the company view that "the company was making sure that work sites were safe, "even for those who are breaking the law and trespassing on these locations'," as if there was no opposing point of view.
The Times reporter also reported, as if it was true, the TransCanada claim "that the company was respectful of those people whose land it needed," when the opposite is easily documented. And for the self-described "paper of record," Frosch chose to quote only two resigned and passive landowners, rather than any who have been actively resisting on site or in court.
In a gesture of journalistic malpractice, Frosch omitted any mention of his own arrest or the arrest of the photographer with him or the arrests of three other journalists, none of whom were apparently charged. He did mention the arrest of Daryl Hannah and others, but not their excessive bail or over-charging by local authorities.
TransCanada Avoids Direct Confrontation, At Least For Now