Refining The Dakota Access Pipeline Target List

I mentioned in Exploding the Dakota Access Pipeline Target List that while listing of the banks financing Dakota Access Pipeline is great, banks and other legal entities are owned, operated and act through people. People, who unlike abstract legal entities, are subject to the persuasion of other people.

Unfortunately, almost all discussions of #DAPL focus on the on-site brutality towards Native Americans and/or the corporations involved in the project.

The protesters deserve our support but resisting local pawns (read police) may change the route of the pipeline, but it won’t stop the pipeline.

To stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, there are only two options:

  1. Influence investors to abandon the project
  2. Make the project prohibitively expensive

In terms of #1, you have to strike through the corporate veil to reach the people who own and direct the affairs of the corporation.

“Piercing the corporate veil” is legal terminology but I mean it as in knowing the named and located individuals are making decisions for a corporation and the named and located individuals who are its owners.

A legal fiction, such as a corporation, cannot feel public pressure, distress, social ostracism, etc., all things that people are subject to suffering.

Even so, persuasion can only be brought to bear on named and located individuals.

News reports giving only corporate names and not individual owners/agents creates a boil of obfuscation.

A boil of obfuscation that needs lancing. Shall we?

To get us off on a common starting point, here are some resources I will be reviewing/using:

Corporate Research Project

The Corporate Research Project assists community, environmental and labor organizations in researching companies and industries. Our focus is on identifying information that can be used to advance corporate accountability campaigns. [Sponsors Dirt Diggers Digest]

Dirt Diggers Digest

chronicling corporate misbehavior (and how to research it) [blog]

LittleSis

LittleSis* is a free database of who-knows-who at the heights of business and government.

* opposite of Big Brother

OpenCorporates

The largest open database of companies in the world [115,419,017 companies]

Revealing the World of Private Companies by Sheila Coronel

Coronel’s blog post has numerous resources and links.

She also points out that the United States is a top secrecy destination:


A top secrecy jurisdiction is the United States, which doesn’t collect the names of shareholders of private companies and is unsurprisingly one of the most favored nations for hiding illicit wealth. (See, for example, this Reuters report on shell companies in Wyoming.) As Senator Carl Levin says, “It takes more information to obtain a driver’s license or open a U.S. bank account than it does to form a U.S. corporation.” Levin has introduced a bill that would end the formation of companies for unidentified persons, but that is unlikely to pass Congress.

If we picked one of the non-U.S. sponsors of the #DAPL, we might get lucky and hit a transparent or semi-transparent jurisdiction.

Let’s start with a semi-tough case, a U.S. corporation but a publicly traded one, Wells Fargo.

Where would you go next?

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