by Sarah McGovern, MER contributor
What an emotional couple of days these past two have been! Many of us were in happy tears yesterday when we heard the news of Micah Big Wind Lott’s victory in court. Today, our tears of sadness join that river. Today, Red Fawn Fallis, an obviously innocent indigenous Lakota woman and political prisoner, has been sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison, (57 months, and it is unclear at this point whether she will get credit for time served, about 18 months).
We do know she was set-up though. We know the FBI planted a gun on her, and we know she was targeted because of her power to organize and enliven communities to take important nonviolent action to protect the water — these are matters of fact. They also say she was targeted because her prayers are so big, and I believe that, too. The Masses united around Standing Rock. We united around strong prayers by people from many, many religious backgrounds. We united because of the good ways taught by people like Red Fawn. Now is the backlash… And now she must shoulder this too. But, we still have hope, we still have truth, and we still have each other. I sincerely believe all this untruth will eventually crumble away. We are the only growing current that flows healthily into the future.
Despite this wildly unjust outcome for Red Fawn, if nothing else, at least we did get the good news of Big Wind’s victory yesterday. Among other things, it very importantly sets precedent that protects peaceful protest and prayer. It also calls out the fraudulent nature of the system trying to condemn the People for having their Voice. By using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and the associated “riot by fire” charge, the scary ones with badges (but no business licenses — *cough* *cough* — TigerSwan) have handed out hundreds of felonies to Water Protectors.
It’s important to realize that the “powers that be” seem to want to massively unleash the RICO Act on the People of this country, Native or not, just for speaking out against corporate and environmental tyranny. The RICO Act would have been their go-to for “justification” of mass incarceration of many thousands of innocent people observing their First Amendment rights — had Big Wind not just won this case. RICO was already used to criminalize Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the 2016 inaugural protests. Greenpeace was even sued in relation to Standing Rock, and the prosecution cited RICO! Twice! According to Bloomberg, “The New York law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres filed both anti-Greenpeace complaints and engineered the theory that the activist outfit has violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Marc Kasowitz, the firm’s founder, is President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney…”
The particular way the judge admonished the prosecution’s logic in the use of this act is centrally important. In fact, Judge Gail Hagerty handed Lott his (and an additional unnamed defendant’s) victory after only hearing the prosecution’s case! The defense didn’t even have to present its evidence! Whoa, awesome!! Apparently, the judge thought the prosecution never even got close to proving their points. Doug Parr, Big Wind’s attorney, said prosecutors had to play the entire hour-long video of Last Child Camp — a peaceful prayer camp at Standing Rock, on treaty land — being broken apart by unlicensed mercenaries, interstate PDs, and Morton County corporate goons. This made it very clear to her that there was absolutely no riot going on, and she seems to have thought it laughable that the prosecution would ever have claimed otherwise. Parr said, “She laid out her findings of fact; this didn’t amount to trespass and there was no violent conduct,” as alleged in the rioting charge.” Epic precedent here.
Micah Big Wind Lott’s win is so epic because, until his trial, we had not had a chance to see just how flimsy all the prosecution’s arguments against the Water Protectors are either! Turns out, the prosecution knows close to nothing about the reality of treaty rights, their own criminal behavior, American religious freedom, nor the First Amendment in general! Shocker! (Not really a shocker — just the “having it called-out by a judge” part! She said what?! Yes. She did.)
Red Fawn and Big Winds’ cases are so timely and relevant, along with two other big cases to watch — those of Chase Iron Eyes and Brennon Bravo One Nastacio. Especially important for environmental activists, Chase Iron Eyes is claiming the Necessity Defense. He is also facing a riot charge because of his livefeeds from the day Last Child Camp was brutalized. The accusation is that he incited a riot with those feeds. And now we know for sure, there was no riot. It looks very promising that Iron Eyes will win and set an additional historic precedent, a precedent that we can all use to counteract the deep ignorance that has grown in relation to the climate crisis and the pollution of the water.
Brennon Bravo One Nastacio’s case is vital to watch as well, and our support for him is needed now. Bravo One, much like Red Fawn, is being harshly criminalized for doing absolutely nothing wrong. More than that — for doing something incredibly right. Bravo One is the man that singlehandedly, peacefully disarmed the rogue DAPL mercenary/pipeline construction worker, Kyle Thompson. Kyle Thompson had a loaded assault riffle and had entered into camp. After being found out, Kyle backed into a small pond as people came to see who he was and ask why he was armed. Bravo One went into the water after him, calmly, and took the gun away, alone, and full of the rarest kind of bravery and heart. Now, he is being targeted. He is being charged with a Class 2 Felony and still awaits trial. He has been set-up by the same mercenaries that sought to shoot us, and he is being made to endure an excruciating legal battle. He is dealing with much, much more than we can imagine. Support is needed now, so please spread the word: Justice for Bravo.
All four of these individuals deserve our sincere love, gratitude and praise. They are personified justice and truth. They are showing the way and sowing the seeds. Stand with them, and help define this era as one where truth and love continue to win. One more thing you can do right away to help, is to send Red Fawn a letter:
Red Fawn Fallis, Resident
Burleigh/Morton County Detention Center
P.O. Box 2499
Bismarck, ND 58502
Tell her you know the truth. Tell her that you are with her. Tell her that you are working on her behalf to protect the water and humanity.
Mni Wiconi — Water is Life!
(Edited on 7/13/18 by Sarah McGovern)
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