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With a headline like “Veterans for Stand Rock” on GoFundMe, donations have been soaring at unbelievable rate. In just 26 days, Wes Clark Jr., the son of General Wesley Clark, was able to raise over $1.1 million in donations that were intended to be used to transport, house and feed veterans who wanted support the protest against the North Dakota pipeline project.
On December 3rd and 4th, veterans from all over the United States started arriving in the Standing Rock area, expecting hotel rooms to be available for their use. These veterans were promised to have their travel expenses reimbursed once they arrived at the protest and were shocked to find out that wouldn’t be the case. For the last 5 days, these good hearted veterans have been having to fend for themselves while Wes Clark Jr. is nowhere to be found. Veterans like Kash Jackson have been outspoken on social media, where he posted a video asking Wes: “Where’s the money and why are these other veterans having to sleep outside during the harsh North Dakota winter when you raised a million dollars to cover their expenses?”
On the 7th of December, the Facebook page Veterans Stand for Standing Rock posted a video from Mr. Clark where he sat in his cozy hotel room and talked about all of the good deeds completed during the protest. Also during this same video he told the viewers that all of the money was spent reimbursing the veterans who attended yet other videos from the Standing Rock camp show a much different scene. Videos from the camp show veterans sleeping in broken tents, asking for warm sleeping bags and trying to find rides back to their home states. Makeshift shelters have also been established in the surrounding communities for these veterans to have a warm place to sleep and something to eat.
On the 8th day of December, Wesley Clark Jr changed the name of his organization to VeRT (Veteran Response Team) and started a new GoFundMe account asking for more donations even before identifying where or how the other million dollars he raised was spent. It begs the question: Is he being genuine in wanting to fund veterans’ efforts to support the protests or is Wesley Clark Jr. just trying to take the money and run?
I’ve made several attempts to contact Mr. Clark on both his personal Facebook page and his Veterans Stand for Standing Rock page and he’s yet to reply to my questions although he did block my attempts to send more messages. #WheresTheMoneyWes is trending on Facebook with everyone wanting to know: Where is the money, Wes?
Ace Baker is an Army SERE instructor.