Back in December, I detailed how the law enforcement at Standing Rock is coming from the reddest counties in the nation, and that they are using the conflict as an opportunity to test their new US military equipment. Now it seems they’ve brought a missile launcher and machine gun, which are aimed at the camps.
Specifically, it’s an Avenger AN/TWQ-1 Air Defense System. It includes 8 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, which, according to Wikipedia, can be used against cruise missiles, drones, planes, and helicopters. It is unlikely they could detect a small recreational drone like the kind used by Digital Smoke Signals and other water protectors. The unit also includes a .50 caliber machine gun that can shoot 950 to 1200 rounds per minute. The machine gun can be fired from the turret or remotely from the drivers cab. What a local or even state law enforcement agency is doing with this kind of weapon is beyond me– and what they are thinking about its use at Standing Rock is mind-boggling. The only other nations where this kind of weapon is pointed at its own people are Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Here is a test launch, which comes at 0:51 of the video.
The use of a military weapon like this in a domestic context is nearly unprecedented. Probably the last time a similar weapon was used domestically were the Hotchkiss M1875 mountain guns unleashed on the peaceful camp of Big Foot at Wounded Knee in 1890, resulting in the massacre of 200 to 300 unarmed people, mostly elders, women, and children. After the massacre, the soldier posed next to their cannons. On the photo was this caption:
“Famous Battery K of the 1st Artillery. These brave men and the Hotchkiss guns that Big Foot’s Indians thought were toys, together with the Fighting 7th what’s left of Gen. Custer’s boys, sent 200 Indians to that heaven which the ghost dancer enjoys. This checked the Indian noise…”