DAPL

#DAPL

                              By: Vanessa Torres

The Dakota Access Pipeline, a product of the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, is set to be 1,172 miles long. It is designed to carry crude oil from North Dakota to southern Illinois. Its construction commenced during late 2015 and is planned to be completed by late 2016. However, since its approval in early July there has been a public outcry-specifically from the Native American population within the region. According to activists, the pipeline intrudes on indigenous lands; it exposes their only water supply to contamination; the tribal community had no say in it; and it disturbs areas of cultural significance.

The pipeline is fixed to cross four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is situated in North and South Dakota. Therefore, the pipeline would cross their territory, disturbing sacred lands and burial grounds. Furthermore, Natives are deeply concerned with the environmental impacts the pipeline would generate. Given that it would run under the Missouri River, which supplies the tribe’s drinking water, farmland and forests. A member of the Sierra Club, a North American environmental group, Michael Brune says, “It’s not a question if a pipeline will malfunction, but rather a question of when.” Oil is notoriously known for spilling and when that occurs it is detrimental to the environment surrounding it. The pipeline puts the community at risk of oil spills impacting surrounding ecosystems and the residents’ health.

However, according to the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, DAPL is a 3.7 billion dollar investment into the United States, creating 8,000–12,000 construction jobs and up to 40 permanent operating jobs. The company also argues that DAPL will be amongst the safest and technologically advanced pipelines in the world. Lastly, its route has supposedly been strategically placed as to avoid interference with any sacred Native American land. There are two sides to every issue and if the Sioux Tribe wishes to end this project they must take extensive measures.

In efforts of ending the construction of this pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has organized several protests, including blocking the construction site, petitions, and reaching out to others for help. Their resistance has gained the support of thousands to its site, including representatives of more than 200 other tribes. One of their biggest supporters, Senator Bernie Sanders has publically spoken out against DAPL through social media and a rally at the White House. He urged the Obama administration to review the proposal and permanently stop the project. His support is a major step in the right direction for the Sioux tribe, given his popularity in America because of his recent presidential campaign. Many of Sander’s supporters are now also supporting the end of this pipeline. The Sioux Tribe and other Native Americans are standing together to demand for justice, which is something their community has not done in a very long time.

            

  Map of Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL)
Map of Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL)

Skrew Your Pelvis

“Keep Your Knees Shut”

by David Escobar

In Canada, on average, a federal judge can make a $214,000 salary annually. If making the cut as a judge is as easy as it was in the instance of Judge Robin Camp, then I think we should all consider a new career path. A case in 2014, in which Camp presided, is currently under retrial for the sexist language used on Camp’s part. To his defense, he says he had a, “non-existent knowledge of Canadian law.” Which, to be frank, is no defense at all.

               The 2014 case involved a 19 year old homeless girl, who is remaining unnamed, and the accused assailant, Alexander Wagar. Throughout the entirety of the case, Camp used derogatory terms directed towards the girl who claimed to have been raped. Phrases such as “Young women want to have sex, particularly if they’re drunk,” and “Why couldn’t you have just kept your knees together?” were used. His most ridiculous phrase was, “You should have just skewed your pelvis.” Judge Camp decided that the accused, Wagar, was not guilty. The “honorable” judge decided this based on simple testimony, rather than taking the evidence into consideration.

               As of 2016, the case is being re-investigated with a new presiding judge. Judge Robin Camp is also being investigated to see if he is a suitable candidate for his position. The deep rooted biases portrayed in 2014 by Camp are enough to revoke him of his title, a title that he did not even earn by learning Canadian Law. This is the type of person who currently has the deciding word on the futures of defendants or victims. This coming November, the case will be re-investigated with all of the evidence presented in 2014 actually being deliberated. I’m sure the young girl hopes that the time between the events in question and this upcoming case don’t effect the truth being revealed.

 

  Justice Robin Camp arrives at a Canadian Judicial Council Inquiry in Calgary, Alta.
Justice Robin Camp arrives at a Canadian Judicial Council Inquiry in Calgary, Alta.

Syrian Ceasefire

Violence in Syria

By Mitchell Agredano

 

Syrian Civil War History

Despite Syria’s government identifying itself as a unitary, semi-presidential, republic, Syria is ruled by an authoritarian regime. Syria’s defacto dictator, President Bashar al-Assad, is known for having all media in the nation controlled by the state, monitoring and censoring the internet, and imprisoning anyone who goes against him. However, in March 2011, multiple teenagers were arrested and tortured for painting revolutionary slogans on a school wall. This ignited pro-democracy protests in the southern city of Deraa, resulting in al-Assad ordering security forces to open fire on protestors, marking the beginning of the Syrian Civil War on March 15, 2011. Since then it has been an all-out war between rebel forces and the oppressive Syrian government, resulting in over 470,000 deaths, 1.9 million wounded, and 4.8 million Syrians leaving the country, according to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research as of February 2016.

  Present day Syria due to civil war conflict.
Present day Syria due to civil war conflict.

What Does This Mean for the World?

By now, you have probably heard about the Syrian refugee crisis, where millions of Syrians are fleeing Syria to evade death. Refugees have immigrated to nations such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and are even moving into Europe. Nations are struggling to create a plan on what to do to resolve the crisis. Some nations are admitting refugees, creating security concerns among citizens who believe terrorists can take advantage of this opportunity to enter the nation.

Despite being an internal conflict, it has generated massive amounts of tension between powerful nations like Russia and the United States. For example, Russia has an economic and military interest in the Tartus naval base located in Syria which is Russia’s only naval facility in the Mediterranean, making it very important that Russia supports Syria’s current government to keep its access to the base. However, the United States has its own moral justifications for supporting the Syrian rebel forces. The Syrian government has committed numerous human rights abuses and was even accused of using chemical weapons on its own citizens, killing almost 1,500 people according to a report by the Syrian-American Medical Society. This civil war has the potential to escalate to a world war with two such powerful countries involved.

What’s Happening Now?

            On September 12, 2016, Russia and the United States agreed to a Syrian cease-fire, temporarily halting the bloodshed. Rebel commanders view the accord as propping up the Syrian president because his army is beginning to lose its will to fight, and is dependent on military intervention from Russia, Iran, and their allies for survival. Rebel forces have no choice but to accept the cease-fire because it will ease the suffering of Syrian civilians. However, during the last truce, the Syrian government dropped barrel bombs on civilians at a market, killing 60 and wounding 100, prompting rebel commanders to remain cautious in order to avoid another ambush. Russia and Syria claim that the rebel forces have committed dozens of cease-fire violations in the first 4 days; however, it was later reported by the Syrian Network for Human Rights that there was 28 violations within the first 2 days, all by government forces or their allies. Rebel fighters criticize the accord because it gives Russia, Assad’s main backer who takes part in the bombings, an equal say to the United States in determining violations. It is unclear how long the cease-fire will last, one can only hope that it is a first step forward towards creating peace in war-torn Syria.

               

  Illustration by Jarret Martinez.
Illustration by Jarret Martinez.

Syrian Civil War Statistics

Syrian Civil War Statistics

By Mitchell Agredano

·        According to a report by the United Nations in August, 2014:

o   National population of 22 billion people before the civil war broke out

·        Since the Syrian Civil War has started, according to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research, as of Feb. 2016:

o   470,000 people have died

o   400,00 from violence, 70,000 from lack of adequate health services, medicine, food, clean water, sanitation, proper housing, and chronic diseases

o   1.9 million wounded

o   11.5% of the country’s population has been either killed or injured

o   life expectancy dropped from 70 in 2010 to 55.4 in 2015

o   mortality rate increased from 4.4 per thousand in 2010 to 10.9 per thousand in 2015

o   Poverty increased by 85% in 2015 alone

·        Since the Syrian Civil War has started, according to the United States, as of Feb. 2016:

o   13.5 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, and 6.6 million internally dispersed, and 4.8 million refugees have left Syria

 

o   45% of all Syrians have been displaced