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Archive for the ‘Direct Action’ Category

Hunt for pipeline bomber draws harassment complaints
Residents of B.C. town question RCMP tactics

Mark Hume
Globe and Mail
Saturday, Jul. 11, 2009

An RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] team hunting for the EnCana pipeline bomber in northeastern British Columbia has been accused of harassing and intimidating people in an attempt to get a break in the case.

Several residents of the Dawson Creek area say they have been interrogated up to eight times, pressured to take lie detector tests and asked for DNA and fingerprint samples.

One man said he fled a busy restaurant when police loudly accused him of being the bomber.

The RCMP say they have not received any formal complaints about their tactics.

But Vancouver lawyer, Jason Gratl, vice-president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said he has written to the RCMP asking them to stop harassing two clients.

“They are acting like state or secret police,” Mr. Gratl said. “The RCMP have fomented a climate of paranoia and suspicion … by applying a level of social pressure that amounts to harassment and intimidation.”

The RCMP has more than 250 investigators trying to catch whoever is responsible for six bomb attacks on EnCana infrastructure since October. Police have interviewed more than 450 people so far, without any charges laid.

Mr. Gratl said four people have contacted him with complaints about police.

One of those is Dennis MacLennan, who says he willingly agreed to a police interview last fall, after the first bombings, but when investigators kept returning with more questions, he decided not to co-operate any more.

That, he said, led to a confrontation with members of the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team in a local café.

“They come and sit at my table … and they start engaging me in questions. I said, ‘look I don’t want to talk to you, my lawyer has advised me not to’ … So I get up to leave and one member of the INSET team starts yelling at me: ‘You’re the bomber You’re the bomber’ You know, in a public restaurant … this is just absolutely atrocious behaviour,” Mr. MacLennan said.

He is in a dispute with EnCana over the amount of money he claims is due for a well on his property, but says that shouldn’t make him a bombing suspect.

“I do my business by the rules … I’m not some radical crazy,” he said.

But police have kept after him for months.

“They just kept pressuring me and chasing me around town, talking to people I’m doing business with and telling them I’m under investigation … destroying business opportunities for me. It’s been quite stressful … they’ve gone to my landlord and said, ‘Would you be surprised if we arrested him?’ and poisoning the atmosphere with people I’ve had relationships with for 10 and 20 years,” he said.

“My friends think there must be something to it if the police are being this persistent. All sorts of rumours are being spread.”

A woman, who asked not to be named, sounded distraught as she described being a police suspect.

“They’ve talked to me three times; our son at least six times. It’s interviews, interrogations, wanting fingerprints, DNA, lie detector tests. They wanted my cellphone record … It’s two or three hours of questioning at a time, over and over again,” she said.

The woman, who is not one of Mr. Gratl’s clients, said she knows others who have been questioned by police, and most are withdrawing from social contact.

“I can see some of the same symptoms of [post traumatic stress disorder] in those who have been police targets … there is isolation, paranoia, just like they have been in combat,” she said.

Another woman, who has not been questioned herself, said a friend was interrogated repeatedly and “he was absolutely torn apart by the intimidation. He was a basket case.”

She said she didn’t want her name in the media, fearing it might result in a police visit.

RCMP Corporal Dan Moskaluk, media relations officer for the North District, said police would like to hear from anyone who thinks they have been treated unfairly.

“I guess the response to those types of issues [is that] we are always concerned,” he said.

“At this point in time I’m not aware of any formal complaints that have been received or are being investigated … but again we would certainly welcome any issues that people would like to voice to us,” he said.

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B.C. pipeline bombed for sixth time
EnCana spokeswoman confirms bomb went off early Saturday morning, less than a kilometre from site of Thursday’s explosion

The Canadian Press
Sunday, Jul. 05, 2009

For the sixth time in nine months, and the second time in three days, a bomb has exploded near EnCana’s natural gas pipeline in northeastern British Columbia.

The blast early Saturday morning took place less than a kilometre from where EnCana workers were trying to cap a gas well damaged in an explosion Thursday.

“Our crews were at the wellhead site, where they were working to stop the gas leak,” EnCana spokeswoman Rhona DelFrari said from Calgary.

“Around 2:30 in the morning they heard a loud bang, so they immediately went to the spot where they thought it was and that’s where they discovered the explosion at the pipeline.”

The Mounties are labelling the bombings as domestic terrorism and have flown in a unit of its Integrated National Security Enforcement Team to investigate.

RCMP spokesman Corporal Dan Moskaluk said the EnCana crew, as well as a nearby resident, reported the explosion.

The blast caused a brief leak of potentially toxic sour gas but the pipeline’s control system sensed the drop in pressure and triggered emergency shutdown valves to isolate that portion of the line.

It’s not clear whether the EnCana repair crew was downwind of the leak but Cpl. Moskaluk said no one was hurt.

Some nearby residents evacuated their homes when they heard the blast, said Ms. DelFrari, but it was unnecessary.

The small amount of leaked sour gas dissipated instantly, she said, and tests of the air showed no signs of hydrogen sulphide, which can kill in small quantities.

“So there was no risk to the public,” said Ms. DelFrari.

It’s the sixth bombing against EnCana gas-transmission facilities since October.

The bombings have all taken place along a 15-to-20-kilometre stretch of the pipeline near Pouce Coupe, just south of Dawson Creek on the B.C.-Alberta border about 1,050 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

The string of unsolved bombings has left Pouce Coupe, which has less than 800 residents, edgy and suspicious.

“This is an attack on the entire community now,” said Ms. DelFrari. “This isn’t just an attack on EnCana as a corporation. This person is putting everyone’s lives in risk right now.”

Police suspect the bomber is someone who has a grudge against EnCana and who perhaps lives in the area.

The attacks began with three bombings shortly after a letter was sent to a Dawson Creek newspaper and to EnCana. It labelled oil and gas companies terrorists and demanded EnCana stop natural gas development in the area.

There was another explosion in January, then none until this week.

Most have targeted wells or pipelines carrying sour gas.

Cpl. Moskaluk said though no one has been hurt yet, the bombings have created stress in Pouce Coupe, as well as nearby Dawson Creek, which depends economically on energy development.

“Many have been questioned, many have been brought in for interviews,” he said.

“They’re all looking at one another. You can imagine how that’s eating away at people.”

Cpl. Moskaluk said police won’t be releasing information on the type of explosives used or the bombs’ construction. He could not say if the latest bomb had been planted before or after Thursday’s blast.

He said police hope this sixth attack will trigger some tips to help them catch the bomber.

I think if somebody comes forward then I think there’s a little bit of strength in numbers,” said Cpl. Moskaluk.

EnCana has offered a $500,000 reward for information and set up a special phone line for the bomber to call them but so far it hasn’t rung.

Meanwhile, EnCana is maintaining bolstered, 24-hour security along the pipeline. But Ms. DelFrari admitted there’s no way to ensure the bomber doesn’t strike again.

“Let’s face it, it’s hard to patrol hundreds of kilometres of pipeline and we have about 150 wells in the Dawson area,” she said.

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Guelph: Road Blockade in Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation

[Contributed by Anonymous to news.infoshop.org, June 20 2009]

[Ontario]

In the morning of June 17th 2009, a few people dressed in black blocked the Hanlon Highway at Paisley Road during rush hour.

Fallen trees and branches were pulled across the southbound lanes and two smoke bombs were set off to draw attention to the banner, which was dropped from the railway overpass. The banner read: “PARK YOUR CARS! Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation.”

This action was done to disrupt the transport of goods and people, especially those belonging to the Linamar Corporation. Linamar is a member of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which works to improve the efficiency of North American trade. Amongst its plans is the militarization and fortification of the borders and their guards. Like in Awkesasne, Tyendinaga and Peru, we too stand against the SPP and its projects.

Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation means ATTACK!

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Blockade comes to end

Posted By JEREMY ASHLEY AND W. BRICE MCVICAR,
THE BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER [Ontario]
Saturday, June 13, 2009

Motorists are once again able to cross the Skyway Bridge after protesters who had closed the Highway 49 fixed link for six days left the scene without incident.

It was just after 5 p. m. on Friday when the small blockade preventing vehicles from crossing the bridge was removed.

“We left on our own terms,” a female protester told The Intelligencer. “It’s contingent with our boys on bail and that’s all I can say.”

The protester was referring to 13 individuals who were arrested and charged at the protest scene early Friday morning. Napanee OPP detachment commander Pat Finnegan confirmed Shawn Brant was among those arrested.

It was at approximately 6:30 a. m. when the OPP’s Public Order Unit arrived at the scene and, after Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Service officers — who were in control of the scene throughout the protest — advised protesters they should move or be arrested, the OPP team moved in, police said.

During the arrests, police said a Tyendinaga Police Service officer sustained an injury to his hand and two protesters were taken to hospital with injuries. One was treated for a minor injury, the other remains at hospital complaining of back and shoulder pain.

“The decision to remove the protesters was a joint policing decision made after all other avenues to finding a resolution to the road closure were exhausted,” Sgt. Kristine Rae said.

By midmorning, police had assumed the original position the protesters held since Sunday evening in support of Akwesasne Mohawks.

That position was lost later in the morning, however, when as many as two dozen protesters blocked access to Bayshore Road, while others — namely native dissident Jerome Barnhart — loudly ordered media and the public away from the scene. A short time later the protesters resumed their original position and were again preventing vehicles from crossing the bridge.

Clad in camouflage and wearing white sneakers, Barnhart barreled across Highway 49 shortly after 8:30 a. m. barking orders that all media “should get away from here right now.”

“You need to leave right now, or else,” he said, his finger now pointing down the highway.

“The CBC is not allowed here and neither are you. Get the f–k out. And don’t be pulling off the road down there … we’re going to be watching you and where you go.”

A vehicle with individuals from the protest group followed the retreating reporter from the scene.

An OPP helicopter was circling the scene throughout the day and a police marine unit was nearby, Finnegan said.

There was a heavy police presence around the bridge, including several dozen officers and vehicles parked at the Picton Arena and another, smaller group of officers at Centennial Park in Deseronto.

Finnegan confirmed his concerns that if the bridge had remained closed during the weekend there could have been clashes between the protesters and people from neighbouring communities, including tourists.

He also said Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief R. Donald Maracle requested the OPP help the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police clear the bridge.

Meanwhile, support among Mohawks for the protesters in both Akwesasne and Tyendinaga — who are not all natives — appeared to have bottomed-out, according to sources on both reserves.

As many as 100 Mohawks from Tyendinaga who are opposed to Brant’s actions confronted him and his followers Thursday evening at the bridge site, demanding he and others remove themselves from the scene.

Also, earlier this week, The Intelligencer has learned, the Rooseveltown, New York, long house of the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs representing Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora peoples, — ‘Haudenosaunee’– formally asked Shawn Brant to remove the roadblock. The message was sent to Brant formally, through Tyendinaga police chief Ron Maracle.

The longhouse is considered the epicentre of the Mohawk community.

Brant had earlier claimed he had support of Akwsasne “clan mothers.”

As well, earlier this week representatives of the band council of Akwesasne — the elected native municipal leaders — voiced displeasure with Brant’s actions, claiming it could negatively impact the situation in their community.

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Six Nations Solidarity Action: “Native protesters cause highway chaos”

Photo The Spec

Photo: The Spec

June 11, 2009
Paul Morse
The Hamilton Spectator [Ontario]

A protest march by Six Nations natives snarled traffic along some of greater Hamilton’s busiest highways today.

Several dozen natives on foot and in cars proceeded along the Red Hill Valley Parkway, Linc and Highway 403 to Brantford to protest the arming of border guards on the Akwesasne reserve in eastern Ontario.

The Six Nations group of up to about a dozen on foot, followed by a small convoy of cars, walked onto the southbound Red Hill Valley Parkway shortly after 8 a.m. with half a dozen Hamilton police cruisers, a motorcycle cop and one marked OPP cruiser behind.

Hamilton police, who patrol the Red Hill and the Linc, say they were informed of the protest last night and decided it was in the best interest of everyone to allow it to happen.

“We took a balanced approach, working with them and the community,” said media officer Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings.

“We wanted to make sure that, if it was going to take place, that it was done safely.”

Police escorted the natives up the fast lane of the parkway from Queenston Road, along the Linc, then west on 403 to Brantford, throwing traffic into chaos.

At times, traffic was backed up for kilometres.

Native spokesperson Jessie Anthony said women from Six Nations organized the protest yesterday after receiving a call for support from the Akwesasne reserve.

“We knew this was going to be a rolling blockade march to support what’s going on in Akwesasne.”

Spokesperson Dawn Smith said the Red Hill Valley falls within the Haldimand Tract.

“We chose to start at Queenston because it encompassed all the major highways that run along our territory.”

“It was because of the way the highways connect,” Anthony said. “It was more a decision on how many people we could reach to make them aware of the situation that’s going on in Akwesasne.”

The native marchers would not say if Hamilton is now on their radar for land-dispute protests.

“When we do this, we don’t pick an area and say ‘OK, we’re going to go and bother Hamilton or Brantford,’” Smith said.

“It depends on the situation, what is being developed and how it is going to affect our next seven generations,” Smith said.

The natives said Hamilton police expressed concerns about the march until they learned that protesters did not plan to block the highway completely.

Anthony said the arming of Canadian border guards on the reserve was tantamount to an armed occupation.

The natives also protested the closing of a bridge that connects the American and Canadian sides of the reserve.

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Mohawk protesters block Ontario bridge over arming of border guards

CBC News [Ontario]
Last Updated: Monday, June 8, 2009

Mohawk protesters block access to the Skyway Bridge, which spans the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ont., and links the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County.  (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

Mohawk protesters block access to the Skyway Bridge, which spans the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ont., and links the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County. (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

About 40 Mohawk protesters blocked a bridge in eastern Ontario Sunday evening in support of a nearby First Nations community engaged in a standoff with the federal government over the arming of border guards.

Protesters blocked either side of the Skyway bridge, which spans the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ont., and links the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County.

Shawn Brant, a well-known activist in Tyendinaga, helped organize the blockade. Brant and other Mohawks plan to stay on the bridge until the federal government makes a commitment to hold what they describe as meaningful talks with Mohawks in Akwesasne. The Akwesasne territory is located near Cornwall, Ont., east of Kingston.

(CBC)

(CBC)

Talks between Mohawk officials from the Akwesasne and the Canada Border Services Agency broke down last weekend over the issue of arming guards assigned to posts on Cornwall island, which is in the middle of Akwesasne, a territory that straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York state.

The border guards in Cornwall were set to start carrying 9-mm handguns last Monday, under a new federal policy enacted across the country. Instead, guards left their posts at midnight last Sunday, citing safety concerns, after hundreds of Mohawks set up camp near the border to protest the gun policy.

Canadian authorities then shut down the Seaway International Bridge into the United States at Cornwall last Monday. The bridge, which spans the St. Lawrence River, handles about 2.4 million crossings annually.

Possibility of closure

A boy joins Mohawk protesters at their demonstration. (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

A boy joins Mohawk protesters at their demonstration. (Submitted by Christopher Clarke)

For the time being, travellers have been advised to use a point of entry at Prescott, which is 60 kilometres west, or the Dundee crossing, which is 17 kilometres southeast.

The Akwasasne protesters are angry about guards being allowed to carry guns, because they say it violates their sovereignty, and increases the likelihood of violent confrontations.

The federal public safety minister said Sunday the border crossing might be shut permanently unless Mohawk leaders accept a decision to arm border guards.

Peter Van Loan told CTV’s Question Period the government is examining all options, including moving the port of entry.

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Prisoner restrictions halted at Matsqui
Lawyers plan to take complaints to court

Mary Frances Hill, Vancouver Sun [British Columbia]
Published: Saturday, June 06, 2009

Corrections Canada called off severe restrictions on prisoners in Matsqui Institution on Friday after lawyers for the prisoners went public with complaints about deteriorating conditions.

Prisoners had been locked in their cells for 23 hours a day for nine weeks following a protest against an increase in work hours.

However, authorities did not reverse the transfers of 14 convicts who had come forward with prisoner complaints.

“This is a partial victory,” said lawyer Donna Turko, who represented the group along with prison rights lawyer John Conroy.

Turko said the convicts will again have access to toilets, sinks, phone facilities and common areas in their “ranges,” or wings of the prison.

She said the lawyers still intend to go to B.C. Supreme Court on Monday to deal with issues that have arisen from the conflict, such as the transferred prisoners and other rights issues.

Conroy said the 14 had acted as representatives for 220 Matsqui prisoners. Two of the transferred prisoners, Jean Paul Aube and Stephane Turcotte, had claimed in court documents that prisoners were getting limited access to food and facilities since staging the protest.

Some were defecating in their cells and throwing the waste out the windows, and the lawyers said the stench of human waste permeated the upper floors of the prison as record-high temperatures hit the Fraser Valley this week.

Turko said Corrections Canada had bowed to media pressure.

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“Conroy said the prisoners have solidarity. When they held a strike vote, about 95 per cent supported the action. He said there is no threat of a riot.”

– Abbotsford New, June 6, 2009

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