After a Winter of Blockades: Updates on criminal charges from #ShutDownCanada

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Jan 122021
 

From North Shore Counter-info

8.5 x 11 pdf poster file for printing or sharing!

It’s been almost a year since the wave of blockades in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders known as Shut Down Canada. Since then, there has been no shortage of urgent issues, and public attention has moved on. However, for both those on the front lines and those still facing charges,  moving on has not been an option.

There are currently at least sixty people still facing serious criminal charges from the raids on Wet’suwet’en territory and the solidarity movement. These actions involved thousands of people in every province of the country, and it’s impossible to describe them briefly, but here are a few aspects:

In January 2020, solidarity actions began as the RCMP prepared their latest offensive against the decade-long reclamation of Wet’suwet’en territory. When the raid started in earnest in early February, Mohawks at Tyendinaga launched a rail blockade shutting down traffic between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Rail disruption immediately became the preferred tactic for the movement and in the coming weeks, long-term, Indigenous-led blockades occurred as well in Kahnawake, Listuguj, Six Nations and New Hazelton. Shorter (and sometimes repeat) blockades happened in Halifax, Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver, Magnetewan, Coquitlam, Hamilton, Morris, Saint-Pascal, Edmonton, Saint-Lambert, Kamloops, Saskatoon, Elsipogtog, Saguenay, and across the border in Washington state. Demonstrations and road blockades occurred in many places as well.

From that massive mobilization, twenty-eight people from Tyendinaga Mohawk territory are still fighting charges, following the OPP’s attack on their community. The next largest group of defendants is from a blockade outside of Sherbrooke, Quebec, where some fifteen people are waiting for trial. In Hamilton, Ontario, six people are each facing four counts of indictable mischief for a 24 hour rail blockade. In the Bas-Saint-Laurent, one person stil has charges from a rail disruption and two people in Montreal have mischief charges for alleged graffiti.

During the previous winter, in January 2019, there was also a violent RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory. Although the solidarity mobilization was smaller, it still saw significant demos, occupations, and blockades across the country, and these too were met with repression.

Two people who were present at the blockades on Wet’suwet’en territory during the 2019 raid still have assault police charges. In Hamilton, one person is charged for alleged vandalism at an RCMP detachment. In Montreal, six people are still dealing with charges connected to the blockade of the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

Nearly a hundred and fifty people were arrested during these two years of struggle. Many were released without charge, others simply got tickets. Some of the criminal charges laid have resolved. For instance this fall, twelve people charged from a rail blockade in Toronto saw their charges withdrawn, two in Vancouver received discharges, and all charges were dropped against those arrested on Wet’suwet’en territory during the raid last February (though the RCMP report their investigation is ongoing).

That more charges are resolving is certainly good news, however we also need to be cautious. The legal system drops charges against some in order to isolate and delegtimize others. Even as we celebrate, we need to remember that it’s likely some of those still charged will end up in prison for moments of struggle we all shared.

Everyone does not face the legal system on an equal footing. It is deeply racist and colonial, and Indigenous defendants are more likely to be found guilty and to receive harsher sentences. As well, those with criminal records, especially ones stemming from their political involvement, will also receive worse treatment and are more likely to do prison time.

The movement last winter was incredibly powerful, and the struggle isn’t over. On Wet’suwet’en territory, work on the pipeline hasn’t stopped for the pandemic, and land defenders on the front lines haven’t stopped resisting. This is true for many other Indigenous peoples across Canada — from Mi’kma’ki to Six Nations to Secwempec territory, this has been a landmark year for Indigenous resistance and assertions of sovereignty. These currents will continue overlapping with resistance to industrial expansion, creating new possibilities and sites of resistance. Nothing stopped, and there will be other times when we will need to shut down Canada again.

All successful movements face repression and have prisoners. More than avoiding repression, what matters is how we deal with it. We need to always be finding ways to show those targeted they are not alone — this makes it easier for them to get through it with strength and integrity. As people move through the justice system, displays of solidarity and practical support make a real difference in the outcome. We need to show that those who are brave and take risks will be supported if we want to be brave together again in the future and see our movements grow.

We will continue sharing updates on North Shore Counter-Info with details about the changing legal situation, and will also amplify fundraising efforts and specific asks from defendants for solidarity or support. On North Shore, they will be under the tag “Blockade Defense” (north-shore.info/tag/blockade-defense) and on Twitter under the hashtag #BlockadeDefense.

If we are forgetting anyone or you have any comments, get in touch in English or French at blockadedefense@riseup.net. The pgp key is available at keys.openpgp.org.

BC: Power Lines Feeding LNG Facility Sabotaged — A statement from a few who aim to shut down Canada

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Dec 072020
 

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-info

We hear the cries for help coming out across this fake nation. We see Wetsuweten, Secwepemc, and Mohawk warriors and matriarchs standing firm against the fascist state that is trying to unabashedly and continually steal their land through state militia sponsored industrial projects. We see Mikmaq and Algonquin warriors and matriarchs standing strong in defense of their right to live free from the infrastructure of this false state.

We also see complacency across these lands. From the vacuum of territories that are not being contested, we hear nothing. The state sponsored industrial hydra knows no boundary, no territorial line, yet those who have not been physically confronted by this beast continue to remain silent. We see this militant passivity from ‘allies’ and ‘accomplices’ alike, and with that we have decided to act accordingly.

A few nights ago, during the supposed week of action, in a remote location somewhere between prince george and prince rupert, we took some bolts and cut the guy wires on a high transmission power line pylon. The line in question runs directly from fort saint john to kitimat, effectively distributing power from the site C dam to the LNG canada facility when they are both finished.

We see these as critical points of attack as they are both still in the construction phase. This is neither the first or last time you will hear from us, and we will not cease to act until the entire oil and gas industry that is decimating the lands that we and our comrades live on and come from, an industry built entirely on the backs of indigenous populations across Turtle Island, has found itself crumbling at the foundation. With the next great windstorm will come the crashing down of this monolithic representation of everything we aim to destroy.

We feel the winds of change beginning to blow, and we hope those reading this will do what they can to help the winds blow down everything around them.

BC: Direct Action Prevents Coastal GasLink from Drilling Under the Wedzin Kwa

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Dec 072020
 

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-info

Resistance is a living practice that spans across time and space. Interwoven webs connect peoples and communities – spreading fire from one space to the next. In its most subversive forms resistance will evade the capture of rationalization or quantification. Attempts to relay what is happening in any specific location will at best be incomplete stories, riddled by the storyteller’s bias.

What follows is a story of recent moments of resistance to the construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. This is just one story and makes no attempt to speak for the wide variety of individuals involved in this struggle. We share these stories in attempt to add fuel to the fire. We hope this contribution fans the flames and helps to one day engulf the contractors involved in the project’s construction. To learn more about the contractors involved see seedsofresistance.noblogs.org

Earlier this November, pre-drilling under the Wedzin Kwa (morice river) was scheduled to begin. While CGL workers prepared to build the pads which host the drill, they were harassed, survey flags were pulled down, and a two-kilometer blockade was built on the road. Dozens of trees were felled on the road, barricades erected, barbed wire strung throughout, and a ditch was dug through the road. Once the pads where built and the drill arrived, a tree was fell onto the drill – which resulted in the drill being removed from the territory.

Simultaneously survey flags were being pulled, works sites trashed, and a hunter’s blind or tree sit is being occupied in the project’s right of way (ROW). With sub-zero temperatures long-term tree occupation is not easy – yet a 40ft tall fortified tree occupation surrounded by barricades is, for the time being, standing defiantly. Additionally, to stop access to the project’s right of way, barricades were erected and lit aflame with banners atop which read: shut down canada, solidarity with Six Nations, Mi’kmaqi fishers and Secwepemc land defenders.

Most recently, 3-4 kilometers of wooden barricades were built, stopping workers from accessing the ROW for days. To make things more difficult heavy machinery was used to dig up the road and destroy a bridge.

One day we hope to find ourselves sitting with friends and relatives resting and warming our hands on a large fire. A fire made up of all the projects which seek to destroy the land and the ones we care about – two things which we know are inseparable. Until that day comes we will continue to ignite smaller flames even if they just keep us warm for the night. We hope that the heat of these embers reaches you and warms your heart.

Rail Sabotage Against Canada

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Dec 072020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

This island is riddled with train tracks: arteries that enable the flow of capital across the continent, conduits for the transport of bitumen and other products of resource exploitation, colonization, and death. The rails have always been instruments of colonial expansion. Throughout these territories, early railways displaced indigenous peoples, carried in the troops that put down uprisings, and cemented the national identity of a nascent settler state.

Last winter, in response to police incursion into Wet’suwet’en territory and the arrest of land-defenders, rail blockades sprung up all across so-called Canada. In the year since, the resource-hungry settler state has continued its attack on indigenous peoples. From Wet’suwet’en and Secwepmeculew territories in the west, to Six Nations and Algonquin territories closer by, to Mi’kma’ki in the east, indigenous peoples have faced an onslaught of repression at the hands of police, white supremacists, and other violent settlers.

Following recent calls to Shutdown Canada again, and for a week of solidarity with indigenous land struggles, we decided to take action against the rails. Early in the morning of Monday November 30th, several autonomous groups interrupted train traffic across Montreal island. We used jumper cables to mimic the passage of freight trains, thus jamming up the rail network at several key junctions. As dawn broke on a new work week, we hope that our actions created at least some impediment to the orderly progression of the colonial economy.

With love to all those struggling to defend the land against Canada.

-Anarchists

Solidarity Disruption and Experimentation on the CP and AMT railroad

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Dec 072020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Early in the evening of Friday November 27th in Tio’tia:ke/Montreal, Canadian Pacific (freight) and AMT (commuter trains) traffic was interrupted as a response to the Coast to Coast call to Action* against the continued violent invasion of unceded Indigenous territory by militarized colonial police forces.

A thick (thickness of a pencil) 13ft copper wire was tightly wrapped around (twice per rail just to make sure) and across the rails, completing a circuit that mimics a train passing, thus temporarily blocking off this section of the railroad until a maintenance crew is called, the wire found, the rails inspected, etc. The activation of train signal lights behind and ahead of us on the tracks allowed us to confirm it worked, though nearby crossing barriers didn’t go down to stop car traffic as expected. Our understanding is that maybe given the direction of the next train scheduled to pass, the obstruction created was understood by their system as being a train that had already passed the crossing. It is also unclear whether this works further away from electrical infrastructure where the current on the rails might not be as strong.

More experimentation – and sharing our findings – is certainly needed but we believe this method to be quick and simple enough to be replicated without much expertise or training. Police repression is also quite difficult given the scale of railroad networks in and around cities. Make sure to plan everything as securely as you would any similar action. Prepare and discuss things only with people involved and do so away from phones and other electronics equipped with microphones and geolocation systems. Make sure there is no way to identify you while gathering information (via Tor Browser or a VPN for online browsing), acquiring the tools you need, leaving the area, and finally broadcasting your action if necessary. Keep in mind cameras, fingerprints, DNA, footprints, and contextual risks (e.g. electrical current, police, falling) at all times before, during, and after the action.

As seen time and time again, the only language understood by the Canadian state is the disruption of the circulation of goods, labor, and capital. Last winter, Indigenous land protectors and settler accomplices have shown that the Canadian colonial project is nothing more than a few population hubs linked to extractive areas by vulnerable transport infrastructure. Colonial laws are illegitimate on Indigenous territory and they will always be disregarded in the fight against the genocide of Indigenous people.

*https://www.yintahaccess.com/videos

Ontario: Solidarity with Indigenous Land Defenders

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Nov 162020
 

Anonymous submissions to North Shore Counter-info

OPP collaborators, we see you!
November 6, 2020

UAV Tower Innovations is a drone company that is being paid by the OPP to spy on indigenous land defenders. Their publicly listed address is 403138 Grey Rd 4, Durham. Last night we spraypainted a message on their driveway:
OPP COLLABORATORS
WE SEE YOU!
WE ARE WATCHING YOU
NO JUSTICE ON STOLEN NATIVE LAND

This is a warning, keep your drones away from the front lines.

Love and solidarity to indigenous people taking back their land!

***

Hamilton: John A MacDonald Statue Painted Red
November 9, 2020

Early in the morning on November 9th, a few of us tread into the night to pay visit to Sir John A Macdonald in Gore park downtown Hamilton. With a loaded fire extinguisher, we painted him red, symbolizing his blood-soaked legacy. We did this in solidarity with the land defenders out 1492 Landback Lane, our neighbors from Six Nations, who are facing intense police violence in their attempt to save their land from another cheap and hollow suburban development.

Fuck John A and his genocidal power project, the state of Canada. A racist – even for his times – he solidified the colonial relationship and ensured the continued landtheft from Indigenous peoples. Fuck every prime minister right down the chain, including Justin Trudeau and his empty reconciliation rhetoric. Once again see the state refusing to meet the land defenders of any Nation with the respect and sovereignty they pay lip service to. And fuck the OPP. A.C.A.B.

It is time to honour the call of Indigenous people everywhere when they say LAND BACK. Come to the support of the Natives you live close to, whether that’s the Mi’kmaq fishermen fighting their right to trap out east to the Tiny House Warriors on the west coast pushing back against the TransMountain pipeline. Anytime you undermine symbols or infrastructure the state, you weaken its claim to permanence. All that was built can be torn down, just like the roads out at Sixth Line.

Lessons from this action: Fire extinguishers full of paint are rapid, quiet, & effective tools! Find a guide to how to fill them on mtlcounterinfo.org (but use Tor browser to visit it).

Seeds of Resistance: A New Resource for Land Defense

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Oct 262020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

As the world falls apart around us we turn to the land more than ever.

This site is meant as a resource for resisting pipelines and other exploitative industrial projects. It is full of information for ideas and action when the process has failed, when permits have been granted, and there is nothing left but our own selves to protect the land.

Visit https://seedsofresistance.noblogs.org/ (with TOR or a safe VPN/browser combo!) and find all the things you’ve been looking for to ignite ideas and action.

Joint Statement by Secwepemc & Gidimt’en Land Defenders

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Oct 192020
 

From Tiny House Warriors & Gidimt’en Checkpoint

October 16, 2020

Pipeline companies threaten violence to communities, salmon and wildlife with drilling under sacred headwaters.

(Unceded Yintah / Secwepemcúĺecw Territories): Coastal Gaslink pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory and Trans Mountain Pipeline in Secwepemc territory are both currently preparing to drill under our clear rivers, from which we have drawn sustenance since time immemorial.

In the past few days we have seen Indigenous women interrupted during ceremonies in both territories, and arrests and incarcerations in Secwepemc territories, for enacting their sacred responsibilities. The Trans Mountain Pipeline weaves through over 900 rivers and creeks, threatening both Secwepemcetkwe (Thompson) and Fraser River systems. The North Thompson is connected to the Adams River, a vital spawning habitat for chinook, coho, and pink salmon, and home to one of the most important sockeye runs in the world. Any leakage would immediately threaten the pacific salmon who spawn in the Secwepemcetkwe (Thompson) and Fraser River basins.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister dated November 26, 2016, our late Secwepemc leader Arthur Manuel wrote to Trudeau:

“The salmon and the rivers they inhabit have taken care of our people for centuries and we are obligated as Secwepemc people to protect the Thompson River system for future generations.”

In this the Secwepemc stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, who have been fighting to protect Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) from pipeline incursions for over a decade. Wetʼsuwetʼen means “People of the lower drainage” and Wet’suwet’en people’s lives are inseparable from the life of the Wedzin Kwa river, which we have protected for thousands of years, and which has in turn fed us and governed us through our hereditary leaders and knowledge-keepers.

Sleydo’ Molly Wickham, spokesperson of the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, states:

At this time our rivers, the lifeblood of our nations, are facing drills, toxins and invaders. Indigenous people are standing up to state violence, big industry and corporate greed for the future of all of humanity–of all life on our yintah. We stand with our Secwepemc relatives in their struggle and ask all Indigenous peoples and our allies to stand up for the salmon, the clean drinking water, the animals and our future generations. We will not let them kill us. We will always be here.

Over the last two decades we have witnessed the dramatic decline of our salmon as a result of toxic extractive and urban development on our territory, as well as fish farms, invasive species, and climate change. These pipeline expansions pose the most direct risk yet.

The drilling alone threatens not only salmon spawning habitat but the balance of the entire ecosystem and food chain they rely upon. The sockeye are tenacious, fighting their way thousands of kilometres upstream from the Pacific Ocean to reach their spawning beds in Secwepemc territory. Wedzin Kwa joins the Skeena and runs through the canyons out to the Pacific Ocean. We cannot risk putting any more obstacles in the salmons’ way.

Our traditional land users and stewards—those who exercise our right to hunt, fish, gather, and practice our culture—are the ones who truly understand the potential impacts of the pipeline. It is these members of our nations who will feel the effects of the pipeline on our rights and our food sovereignty most acutely. It is these members who have authority over our lands the government of Canada has failed most.

When we protect our rivers from invading industries, and insist on our rights to fish and hunt on our territories, we are criminalized, harassed and jailed. In Secwepemc territory, there were 5 arrests yesterday and 3 indigenous land defenders were sentenced to 28 days in Canadian jail.

By refusing to seek the free prior and informed consent of our people, and instead opting to sign deals and agreements with a few of our federal Indian bands, the government of Canada has undermined the authority of the proper rights and title holders of Secwepemcúl’ecw and the Wet’suwet’en yintah.

Shut Down Canada

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Oct 172020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Right now in Mi’kma’ki, commercial fishermen are physically threatening, intimidating and harassing Indigenous people over their livelihood catch of lobster. The violence has escalated in the past few days, and seems likely to continue to escalate. The RCMP have been filmed allowing commercial fishermen to steal and poison lobster, burn vehicles, smash windows, throw rocks at Mi’kmaq people and attack chiefs and women.

What’s happening in Mi’kma’ki is a prime example of how race operates in so-called Canada, with the state protecting the side of big business and using white working-class people to project their force onto the non-white population. Examples of this can be found all over the country.

In August, 27km camp on Wet’suwet’en yintah was burned to the ground by arsonists, and somehow the state has no leads or interest in pursuing the case, even though there were public facebook posts calling for that specific action to be carried out.

In Secwepmeculecw the Tiny House Warriors have faced near constant harrassment from white supremacists who even set up a camp and barbeque within a stone’s throw from Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit folks in order to harass and intimidate them.

In Algonquin territory non-Indigenous hunters continue to disrespect and threaten Indigenous people on their own territory, who are protecting the moose population from being over-hunted.

In Six Nations territory the police continue to harass and arrest Indigenous people, unchecked by us the greater community at large.

When is enough enough? Why aren’t we shutting the country down? The white supremacist settler state cannot continue unchecked. There must be action. This is a callout to all settlers and supporters to take actions where you stand, how you see fit. Transportation routes are vulnerable, we proved this in the spring. It doesn’t take many people carrying out subversive actions to cause the state immense damage.

Take action now. What are we waiting for?

Protect the Headwaters! Wet’suwet’en Resist Coastal Gaslink

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Oct 162020
 

From It’s Going Down

Update on continued struggle to resist the Coastal GasLink pipeline threatening the Wedzin Kwa headwaters on Wet’suwet’en territory. For more info, follow Gidimt’en Checkpoint.

Our headwaters are under attack. Our way of life is at risk. Coastal Gaslink is weeks away from test drilling beneath Wedzin Kwa – the river that feeds all of Wet’suwet’en territory and gives life to our nation.

We continue to reoccupy our territories – to prepare our foods, to hold our ceremonies, to teach our children what it means to be Wet’suwet’en.

We have to protect ourselves. We have to protect what we have at all costs.
We need your support now more than ever.

A message from Sleydo, Molly Wickham, spokesperson for the Gidimt’en Checkpoint.

Visit www.yintahaccess.com to come stand with us, to donate, or to find out ways you can help.