Audio: Organizer Says #NoDAPL Veterans “Feel Like They Were Taken for a Ride”

Veterans join activists in a march to Backwater Bridge just outside of the Oceti Sakowin camp during a snow fall as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota on December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“They feel like they were taken for a ride.”

That’s what Bonnie Hoppa told me today about veterans who answered a call from left-wing media personality Wes Clark, Jr. to travel to North Dakota to help protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I wrote about the problems surrounding the #VeteransForStandingRock movement last week, noting that many of the participants found themselves pretty much abandoned in North Dakota in the middle of a severe blizzard.

Hoppa, from Maryland, is a veteran who didn’t attend the protest here in North Dakota but worked to organize the veterans who did attend. She said that Clark raised over $1.5 million for the protest to pay for the travel/lodging expenses for the veteran protesters, but that to her knowledge nobody has yet been reimbursed.

Hoppa said fellow veterans she’s spoken to are giving Clark until Christmas to make good on reimbursements to veterans, after which they’re exploring other options such as legal actions.

“The process right now is everybody sitting and waiting and repeatedly asking ‘where do I turn my receipts into’ and they’ve not gotten a good answer,” she told me.

She also said Clark has exaggerated the number of veterans who attend the event. In social media messages Clark has claimed that more than 4,000 veterans showed up, far more than the 1,500 expected, something he blamed for logistical failures.

But Hoppa isn’t buying that.

“Wes Clark has reported various different numbers,” she told me.

“I’ve seen him report 4,000, 5,000, 11,000,” she continued. “It’s been all over the place.”

“From what people have told me 4,000 would be an extremely generous estimate,” she added.

Hoppa said fellow veterans she’s spoken to are giving Clark until Christmas to make good on reimbursements to veterans, after which they’re exploring other options such as legal actions.

Here’s the full audio:

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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