RCMP charge man in connection with hit and run death of Brady Francis

Brady Francis, of Elsipogtog First Nation, is shown in this undated handout image. CP/Garnett Augustine

A 56-year-old man is facing charges in connection with the hit-and-run death of Brady Francis from Elsipogtog First Nation.

According to media reports Maurice Johnson of Saint-Charles, N.B., has been charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.

Francis a well-liked 22-year-old was hit by a pickup truck on Feb. 24 as he departed a party in Saint-Charles, N.B., a predominantly francophone town about 12 kilometres south of the Elsipogtog reserve.

RCMP say it’s believed the Mi’kmaq youth was waiting for a drive home when he was struck.

Johnson is scheduled to appear in Moncton Provincial Court on July 10, 2018 to enter a plea.

Following Francis’s death, rallies and vigils were organized across the province, and people pleaded for the driver who hit Brady to come forward and confess.

Social media posts were circulating following the incident with pictures of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent Prairie verdicts.

Earlier this year, RCMP completed an investigation into the hit-and-run and handed the file over to Crown prosecutors to review possible charges.

This is the first charge laid in the case — four months after Francis was struck.

The news was welcomed with relief in the community.

“We’re extremely happy,” said Ruth Levi, a band councillor and director of social services at the Elsipogtog reserve.

Police say Johnson is the same person that was arrested and released without charges back in March. It was also his truck that was seized as part of the RCMP investigation.

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Sabrina Polchies’s 2010 Death Still Raises Questions With Family

Sabrina Polchies was found dead in a Salisbury aprartment in 2010 at the age of 22. Foul play was ruled out by police, but her parents think she was murdered. (Facebook)

Sabrina Polchies was found dead in a Salisbury aprartment in 2010 at the age of 22. Foul play was ruled out by police, but her parents think she was murdered. (Facebook)

Mary Agnes Polchies feels her daughter’s 2010 death wasn’t properly investigated by the RCMP

By Tori Weldon, CBC News Posted: Jul 04, 2016

Sabrina Polchies, a Mi’kmaq woman from the Elsipogtog First Nation, moved to Moncton on Canada Day in 2010 to start a new life, but four days later she was found dead in a Salisbury apartment.

The RCMP ruled out foul play in her death six years ago, but members of her family believe Polchies was murdered.

It was July 1, 2010 and the 22 year-old posted, “Moving to Moncton whooo hoooo start a new life wish me luck.”

But only a few days later the RCMP would be knocking on her parents door, with news Mary Agnes Polchies describes as out of a nightmare.

The moment still haunts her.

“Two RCMP came over and they said, ‘We found an aboriginal woman dead in Moncton’ and I knew, I knew that was my baby,” she said.

Polchies had been worried about her 22-year-old daughter since the early hours of July 2, when she said she received a troubling phone call from Sabrina.

Polchies said her daughter sounded scared and said she didn’t know where she was.

Polchies describes pleading with her daughter to get a civic address, as she heard men swearing aggressively.

“I can hear in the background, ‘F–king squaw, you f–king bitch,'” she said.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, get out of there.'”

Polchies said that’s when the line went dead. It was the last time she would ever speak to her daughter.

Body discovered on July 5

This is the Salisbury apartment where Polchies was found dead in July 2010. RCMP first deemed the death suspicious, until later in the week, the autopsy report, coroner’s report and evidence gathered led the RCMP to rule out foul play. (CBC)

This is the Salisbury apartment where Polchies was found dead in July 2010. RCMP first deemed the death suspicious, until later in the week, the autopsy report, coroner’s report and evidence gathered led the RCMP to rule out foul play. (CBC)

RCMP say it was two days later that Sabrina Polchies was reported missing on July 4.

But her mother insists she dialled 911 as soon as that call ended. And followed up again the next day, on July 3, and again July 4.

The young woman’s body was discovered on July 5 in a Salisbury apartment. Police said she died of a combination of alcohol and prescription medicine.

Foul play was ruled out on July 9.

But Polchies said she thinks the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death are too suspicious to be ignored.

She said she’s heard rumours over the years suggesting that the men her daughter was with in the early hours of July 2, 2010, forcibly injected Sabrina with drugs, causing her death.

Wilson Polchies, Sabrina’s father, said his daughter’s cellphone was recovered from a dumpster days after she was found dead, he wonders why that didn’t raise more red flags for police.

“Mostly what bothers me is there is no justice at all. They dropped it and that was all,” he said.

Police investigation questioned

Six years after her daughter's death, Mary Agnes Polchies is still looking for closure. (CBC )

Six years after her daughter’s death, Mary Agnes Polchies is still looking for closure. (CBC )

Mary Agnes Polchies is also dissatisfied with the investigation carried out by the RCMP.

She said she feels that once the autopsy revealed drugs in her daughter’s system, she was written off.

“For like 25 minutes they did their job, just to look good on TV,” she said.

“They did what they had to do because they were in public’s eyes, but after you know, after when the public stopped caring that’s when they stopped. ‘Oh, she overdosed,’ that’s all.”

Cases highlight pattern

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said the pattern of "no foul play" being found in so many deaths of aboriginal women is worthy of assessment. (CBC)

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said the pattern of “no foul play” being found in so many deaths of aboriginal women is worthy of assessment. (CBC)

A CBC News investigation found this is just one case of dozens where police say there is no evidence of foul play, but the families of missing and murdered indigenous girls and women maintain their loved ones may have been victims of homicide.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett commented on Thursday that the cases highlighted in the investigation show a pattern.

“This isn’t just one time that this happened this seems to be way too common, she said.

Bennett expressed that the pattern of “no foul play” found in so many aboriginal women’s deaths is worthy of assessment.

“I think it is a teachable moment for policing across this country to really look at the kinds of assumptions that are being made, the kinds of decisions that are being taken based on assumptions instead of based on fact,” she said.

Roland Chrisjohn, an associate professor in the Department of Native Studies at St. Thomas University, said he agrees with the concerns raised by the minister.

Chrisjohn is writing a book about indigenous people and racism in Canada.

“The pattern of police under-investigation of indigenous deaths, particularly of women, is commonplace across Canada, and in my opinion another instantiation of Canada’s institutionalized racism toward native peoples.”

RCMP willing to meet family

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the Polchies family is welcome to contact their local RCMP detachment if they are looking for more information about their daughter's death. (RCMP/YouTube)

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the Polchies family is welcome to contact their local RCMP detachment if they are looking for more information about their daughter’s death. (RCMP/YouTube)

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh would not provide any specific details about the Polchies case.

But she said the Polchies family is welcome to contact their local RCMP detachment if they are looking for more information.

“The RCMP is always open to meeting with families to provide an update on investigations in their jurisdiction or to explain the reasons for the decision to close the file,” she said.

Mary Agnes Polchies isn’t interested in those reasons, she wants the file reopened and her daughter’s death investigated more thoroughly.

After six years, she said she still struggles with the unanswered questions surrounding her daughter’s death.

“I stopped crying so much, I mean I have bad days, I have really bad days, but not as much,” she said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/elsipogtog-missing-murdered-aboriginal-rcmp-1.3660595?cmp=abfb

Warrior Chief Plans Roadblocks To Keep Drugs Out Of Elsipogtog

John Levi, an Elsipogtog warrior chief, plans to set up roadblocks in his community to stem the flow of drugs. (Ian Bonnell/CBC)

John Levi, an Elsipogtog warrior chief, plans to set up roadblocks in his community to stem the flow of drugs. (Ian Bonnell/CBC)

Warrior chief John Levi says ‘It’s about time we made a stand and got our community back’ from influx of drugs

CBC News Posted: Apr 28, 2016

Elsipogtog roadblocks planned to keep drugs out of community

John Levi, the warrior chief at Elsipogtog First Nation, is planning to erect roadblocks on the three routes into the Mi’kmaq community in an attempt to curtail what he says is a steady stream of street drugs entering the reserve.

“It’s been many years that we’ve had problems with drugs in our reserve,” said Levi.

“It’s not only Elsipogtog that’s having problems, it’s every community, but after so many years you know we decided we’re going to stand up and get our community back.”

Members of the community name hydromorphone, an opioid pain medication, and crystal methamphetamine, an illegal street drug, as some of the substances being brought in to the community.

‘We are First Nations and we make our own laws.’– John Levi, warrior chief

Levi says people with drug problems are stealing others’ personal property and sometimes sending their kids to bed hungry because any family income is funneled into drugs.

DJ Joseph, Elsiopogtog Nation administrator, says he’s not aware of the plan, but he sees some potential for success.

“I personally would applaud anything that helps deter some of the more negative things that kind of come up in Elsipogtog,” he said.

DJ Joseph

DJ Joseph, the Elsipogtog administrator, said he would support any move to block drugs from coming into the First Nation (CBC)

Joseph grew up in the Mi’kmaq community and is aware of the difficulties some families face.

“Addiction plays a huge part in almost every … aspect of Elsipogtog life,” said Joseph.

“Often times other things fall out of place whenever there’s an addiction in the house.”

There are a number of programs in place on the reserve, including a needle exchange, group therapy, an addiction centre, a crisis unit and family support.

But Joseph explains funding for these programs isn’t easy to come by. He says many programs are started, but without core funding the initiatives don’t always stick.

“I kind of see it as a balance that hasn’t been hit yet,” he said.

Joseph says as a band administrator, he thinks a lot of work has to be done before the plan is put into action, like making sure Levi has proper authorization, and the RCMP is informed.

Roadblocks are illegal

The RCMP won’t confirm it is aware of any plans to erect community road blocks.

Sgt. Benoit Jolette says the RCMP is always open to receiving information from the public, but is not in favour of people taking the law into their own hands, adding roadblocks are illegal.

Levi said he wants the RCMP to be involved, but ultimately he said he only needs permission from the band chief and council.

“Once we get the approval from the chief and council we aren’t breaking any laws, we are First Nations and we make our own laws,” he said.

Levi doesn’t plan to search each car passing by, but does want to keep track who is coming and going in Elsipogtog.

While the RCMP conduct check stops in the community, Levi feels this one will be more effective because no one knows the community like the people who live there.

“We know who is bringing the drugs into the reserve and we’re just going to be standing and waiting for the right people that are bringing in the drugs,” he explained.

Eight people have volunteered to help conduct check stops, and Levi says about 25 elders are on board with the plan.

The CBC spoke to a number of members of the community and none would go on record.

But many said they are in favour of the roadblocks and hope it does slow the flow of drugs entering the community.

Others expressed concern about the loss of personal rights.

Levi said he knows the move is a controversial one but he feels the potential benefits to the First Nation are worth the infringement of personal freedoms.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/levi-mi-kmaq-drugs-elsipogtog-1.3555515

Idle No More Movement Was Like ‘Bacteria,’ Says Internal RCMP Document

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The Idle No More movement was like “bacteria” that spread across the country carrying with it the potential for an outbreak of violence, according to an internal RCMP document shared by senior officers.

The internal document was a site report from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s camp which set up during her liquids-only fast on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River within sight of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada. The camp became a hub of activity during the height of the Idle No More movement between December 2012 and January 2013.

The site report was written by RCMP Cpl. Wayne Russet, the Aboriginal liaison for the national capital region, and sent to Insp. Mike LeSage, the acting director general for National Aboriginal Policing. LeSage passed it on to Carrie Ann McPherson, a senior analyst with the RCMP’s Operations Intelligence Analysis Section.

APTN National News obtained the document under the Access to Information Act. APTN filed the request in April 2013 and only recently received it.

While the document primarily provided close to real-time details of the evolving situation inside Spence’s camp, it also included a discussion of the Idle No More movement.

“This Idle No More Movement is like bacteria, it has grown a life of its own all across this nation,” wrote Russet, in the Dec.24, 2012, document which was based on events as of noon that day and sent at 1:17 p.m. “It may be advisable for all to have contingency plans in place, as this is one issue that is not going to go away.”

The report also struck an ominous tone.

“There is a high probability that we could see flash mobs, round dances and blockades become much less compliant to laws in an attempt to get their point across,” said the document. “The escalation of violence is ever near.”

The document was titled, “Chief Spense’s Hunger Strike and the Idle No More Movement (sic)” and classified “for law enforcement only.”

It also provides mundane details about Spence’s state of health and life in the camp and non-events of the previous days.

“Chief (Spence) is doing well, she is in good spirts. Her camp is being well maintained by the Fire Keeper and the eight male Peace Keepers. Cpl. Russett is in daily contact with the camp,” said the document. “The chief has shown no signs of weakening in her previous commitment to continue her hunger strike until she and the other chiefs get a meeting with the prime minister.”

Russett also often forwarded emails he received from unknown persons giving him information on upcoming protests in the Ottawa region.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence during her liquids-only fast on Victoria Island

At its peak, the Idle No More movement attracted significant RCMP attention, according to the cache of documents released to APTN under the Act.

The RCMP “stood up” a “federal policing intelligence coordination team” to monitor Idle No More. It also created an email account specifically for Idle No More monitoring which received 575 emails between January 2013 and the end of March. The RCMP also tallied about 1,000 Idle No More related events as of April 8, according to a separate document outlining options for using the RCMP’s national intelligence capabilities to support monitoring of First Nation protests.

The majority of Idle No More protests, round-dances and blockades occurred between the end of December 2012 and January 2013.

The highly redacted document was titled, National Aboriginal Demonstrations and Protests; Framework for Defining the RCMP’s Coordinated National Intelligence support.

It has no date, but appears to have been drafted in April 2013.

It discussed a perceived shift away from specific-Idle No More movement to spin-off protests.

In particular, the document mentions plans for “Sovereignty Summer” which was a March 2013 campaign planned between Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, a pre-established network of Indigenous activists.

The document said the campaign planned to target pipelines, tar sands, natural gas, fisheries and mines.

“The spring of 2013 has been marked by an evolution in terms of Aboriginal protests whereby INM-specific events have abated and land sovereignty/environmental protests that are not necessarily associated with INM have emerged,” said the document. “Associations of convenience have occurred and may continue to form in order to gain political traction. These associations blur the line between INM-sponsored events and activities from other groups or movements.”

One Idle No More spin-off which appears not to have been on the radar at the time was the simmering opposition to hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick.

Things took a turn in the province after the Mi’kmaq took the lead in protests against shale gas exploration. The first flare up came on June 21 that year, Aboriginal Day, when the RCMP arrested about 40 people during a tense demonstration.

On Oct. 17, 2013, heavily-armed RCMP tactical units raided a Mi’kmaq Warrior-anchored camp which had trapped several exploration vehicles. The RCMP raid turned up ammunition and three bolt-action, single shot rifles during a day of clashes that led to the torching of several RCMP vehicles.

The protests continued after the raid, culminating in the burning of tires on Hwy 11 in New Brunswick which connects Moncton and Bathurst.

During the first night the tires burned, people were heard chanting “Idle No More, Idle No More.”

CSIS Helped Government Prepare For Northern Gateway Protests

Thousands rally against Enbridge Northern Gateway: Tsleil-Waututh Elder Amy George (right) speaks to the crowd.

By Jim Bronskill | The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Canada’s spy agency helped senior federal officials figure out how to deal with protests expected last summer in response to resource and energy development issues — including a pivotal decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service prepared advice and briefing material for two June meetings of the deputy ministers’ committee on resources and energy, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show.

The issue was driven by violence during demonstrations against natural-gas fracking in New Brunswick the previous summer and the government’s interest in “assuming a proactive approach” in 2014, says a newly declassified memo from Tom Venner, CSIS assistant director for policy and strategic partnerships.

Release of the material comes amid widening concern among environmentalists and civil libertarians about the spy agency’s role in gathering information on opponents of natural resource projects. Those worries have been heightened by proposed anti-terrorism legislation that would allow CSIS to go a step further and actively disrupt suspected extremist plots.

Traditional aboriginal and treaty rights issues, including land use, persist across Canada, Venner said in the memo to CSIS director Michel Coulombe in advance of a June 9 meeting of deputy ministers.

“Discontent related to natural resource development across Canada is largely an extension of traditional concerns,” he wrote. “In British Columbia, this is primarily related to pipeline projects (such as Northern Gateway).”

On June 17, the federal government conditionally approved Enbridge’s proposed $8-billion Northern Gateway pipeline, which would see Alberta crude flow westward to Kitimat, B.C.

Prior to the federal decision, Venner drafted a second memo for a follow-up meeting of the deputy ministers on June 19, in which he laid out CSIS assessments of three scenarios: approval, approval with aboriginal consultation, or rejection. Much of the content is blanked out.

Other censored sections indicate that while CSIS believes most Northern Gateway opposition falls into the category of legitimate protest and dissent, it concludes some does not.

Public Safety Canada may lead deputy ministers in a guided discussion “that will consider possible federal responses to protest and demonstration incidents,” Venner added.

Packages for both meetings included a CSIS synopsis of violence that flared near the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick in October 2013 when the RCMP enforced a provincial court injunction against an encampment to protest fracking — an underground rock-fracturing process to make gas and oil flow.

The spy agency’s summary — portions of which remain secret — notes that during the raid and subsequent arrests, Molotov cocktails were thrown at Mounties, shots were fired from nearby woods and six RCMP cars were set afire.

CSIS also gave deputy ministers a federal risk forecast for the 2014 “spring / summer protest and demonstration season” compiled by the Government Operations Centre, which tracks and analyzes such activity.

CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti did not respond to requests for comment on the newly disclosed documents.

The Elsipogtog conflict was a policing matter, not a threat to national security, said Keith Stewart, an energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada.

“That was a very localized conflict,” he said. “And it was one that we’ve seen happen over and over again because we haven’t dealt with land claims.”

With that in mind, Stewart was surprised by the degree of spy service involvement in the Northern Gateway discussions. “I find it odd to see CSIS in the middle of this.”

The records make it clear the intelligence service is putting “extensive work” into monitoring protest activity in the extractive sector across Canada, said human rights lawyer Paul Champ.

“The big question I have is, why are they producing these intelligence reports on protest activity they acknowledge is legitimate and outside their mandate?”

N.B. shale gas protester gets six-month sentence, probation for making threats against media

A police cruiser on fire is seen at the site of a shale gas protest in Rexton, N.B., Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (Ossie Michelin / Twitter)

A police cruiser on fire is seen at the site of a shale gas protest in Rexton, N.B., Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (Ossie Michelin / Twitter)

 CTV News

A 26-year-old man from the Elsipogtog First Nation, who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a 2013 fracking protest in New Brunswick, has been sentenced.

Tyson Peters pleaded guilty last September to charges of uttering threats, assaulting a police officer and intimidation towards the media, which were laid after separate incidents in the fall of 2013, New Brunswick RCMP say.

On Friday Peters was sentenced in Moncton provincial court to six-month conditional sentence, and 12 months of probation after the sentence has been served.

The sentence includes two months of house arrest for each of the three offences, but to be served concurrently.

The charges against Peters are related to his participation in protests against shale gas operations in the Rexton, N.B. area, stemming from incidents that occurred between Sept. 30 and Oct. 19, 2013.

Shale gas protester admits assaulting RCMP officer in Rexton

The protest on Route 134 near Rexton on Oct. 17, 2013, turned violent when police moved in to enforce a court injunction that prohibited protesters from interfering with the seismic exploration work. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The protest on Route 134 near Rexton on Oct. 17, 2013, turned violent when police moved in to enforce a court injunction that prohibited protesters from interfering with the seismic exploration work. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Oct 22, 2014

A 20-year-old man from Elsipogtog First Nation has pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer during a violent anti-shale gas protest in Rexton last fall.

Robert Michael Augustine admitted in Moncton provincial court that he threw rocks at RCMP officers who were part of a police line keeping people away from the protest area on Oct. 17, 2013.

Augustine was given a 24-month conditional discharge.

He was also ordered not to attend any shale gas protests, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and to complete 50 hours of community service work.

The protest on Route 134 near Rexton turned violent when police moved in to enforce a court injunction that prohibited protesters from interfering with the seismic exploration work of SWN Resources Canada.

About 40 people were arrested that day and six RCMP vehicles were destroyed by fire.

Cpl. Yann Audoux has described the violent clash between RCMP and anti-shale gas protesters as one of the most volatile situations he has ever faced.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/shale-gas-protester-admits-assaulting-rcmp-officer-in-rexton-1.2809098

 

Exclusive: The Red Power Conspiracy Theory And Burning RCMP Cars

Lastrealindians/Facebook

Conspiracy theorists spreading disinformation about torching of RCMP vehicles 

In the aftermath of the RCMP raid on the anti-fracking blockade in Mi’kmaq territory, there emerged a conspiracy theory that the six police vehicles set on fire were the act of police informants acting as agent provocateurs.

In particular, one individual has been identified and publicly labelled a police informant: Harrison Friesen. It has been implied that he, along with one or two others, were responsible for several Molotov cocktails thrown at police lines and the torching of the police vehicles in Rexton, New Brunswick.

We saw similar conspiracy theories promoted following the Toronto G20 protests during which four cop cars were burned in the downtown core. Conspiracy theorists said the burnt cruisers were “junk vehicles” planted to incite violence or distract anarchists from reaching the security fence, and that the police set their own cars on fire to justify their massive police operation and violent repression of protesters. Not a single piece of evidence ever emerged to prove these theories about the G20 protests.

More than 40 people were prosecuted for their parts in the June 26th rampage where Toronto Police Headquarters was damaged, shop windows smashed and media vehicles trashed by a breakaway Black Bloc group attacking symbols of capitalism.

Toronto G20 police car fire, photo by john hanley (flickr)

But, is it true Harrison Friesen set the RCMP car fires?

His past tells a different story

Friesen, an indigenous rights activist and land defender from Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta came into prominence during the 2010 ‘No Olympics on Stolen Native Land‘ campaign and Toronto G20 as the leader of Red Power United a radical faction from the Red Power Movement.

In May 2010, the media reported, that Red Power activists had announced a day of action on June 24th, just as world leaders would descend on Huntsville, Ont., for the G8 and Toronto for the G20. The group said blockades were planned for either Hwy 400 or Hwy 403. An array of world leaders, including Canada’s PM Stephen Harper, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, were to be at the G8 and G20 summits.

Indigenous leadership from reserves had also planned to block major highways on June 24th to protest the Ontario government’s plans to apply Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) towards them. But one week before the blockade, the government decided not to apply the HST to indigenous communities, and band councils cancelled the protest.

But Friesen ignored the wishes of the band councils and announced that he would still be running blockades. This, of course, was something his fellow radicals could agree with because of their dislike for the chief and council system.

G20 Toronto Protest

Harrison Friesen, from Red Power United, speaks at the G20 Toronto Protest

It was expected the blockades would interrupt the G8 motorcade, making its way from Huntsville to Toronto for the larger group of Twenty summit. The goal was to draw international media attention to First Nations issues.

Al Jazeera wrote in the article, Canada’s brewing ‘insurgency, that Friesen’s plans for the blockade “could wreak havoc on the summit and cast light on Canada’s darkest shame.”

CSIS intimidation 

Next Friesen agreed to meet with a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agent to discuss his plans for a blockade during the G20. He wasn’t meeting as an informant, but instead brought APTN News along to secretly tape. His intention was to embarrass CSIS with the recording.

Activists were provided with a microphone, then from a distance, APTN shot a video showing a CISIS agent talking to Friesen. The female agent warned, that any blockade on Highway 400 would be a “bad idea.” She’s heard saying “I will tell you straight up, there [are] other forces from other countries that will not put up with a blockade in front of their president”. Friesen, told APTN he viewed the agent’s warning as a “threat.”

The woman on the tape also appeared to be seeking information on the anarchist group that claimed responsibility for the May 18 firebombing of a Royal Bank branch in Ottawa. Along with a statement that made reference to Indigenous rights; and the Royal Bank was targeted because it was a sponsor of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

First Nations groups spoke out publicly about the bombing to establish that it was not done in their name, including the Toronto G20 organizing group for Indigenous Solidarity actions on June 24. Red Power United also spoke out against the arson saying their group denounced such violence.

None of the men linked to the RBC firebombing were Indigenous.

However, the statement condemning the bombing had garnered backlash for Friesen from his radical comrades.

G20, Red Power United, Harrison Friesen (in the Public Enemies T-shirt) engages Toronto police officers. Photo: by Isha Thompson Windspeaker

G20, Red Power United, Harrison Friesen (in the Public Enemies T-shirt) engages Toronto police officers. Photo: Isha Thompson Windspeaker

In the end, the G20 blockades never happened. Although it was rumored Friesen’s group had lost support, sources from within the movement told Red Power Media the blockade was called off due to security concerns that another group of protesters were going to attempt to breach the G20 fence on June 24th, possibly endangering peaceful First Nations demonstrators. The blockaders were told to stand down and take on peacekeeping duties.

Intelligence reports 

The G20 summit was one of the largest domestic intelligence operations in Canadian history. An RCMP -led joint intelligence group (JIG) collaborated with provincial and local police to do threat assessments, run undercover operations and monitor activists. The surveillance was widespread. And RCMP records suggest that the reconnaissance continued. Report logs indicate at least 29 incidents of police surveillance between the end of the G20 summit and April 2011.

In Oct 2011, The Globe and Mail reported, a military intelligence unit had assembled at least eight reports on the activities of native organizations between January, 2010, and July, 2011. The documents alerted the military to events such as native plans for a protest blockade of Highway 401, and the possibility of a backlash among aboriginal groups over Ontario’s introduction of the HST. The memos also devoted a lot of space to future protests and lobbying on Parliament Hill by native groups, including Red Power United.

_rexton-overview

Blockade supporters (Harrison Friesen center) confront RCMP officers. Oct 17, 2013.

On October 19, 2013,  wrote an article A Fog Of War Surrounding New Brunswick Protest which included a photo that was being shared on social media as proof that Harrison Friesen is guilty for the burning the RCMP vehicles.

“I began asking questions right away, to anyone I saw posting it” said Wilson, asking for further evidence. “I have been told about his apparent history of violence and extreme actions. Been told that people have spoken to people, who say he did it, And much more like that. But nothing that constitutes as evidence. It seems to be a lot of conjecture by people who are not there and are looking for a way to separate violent actions from the protesters and direct it to the RCMP.”

Smear campaigns

Unfortunately, not all media outlets or bloggers can be trusted either, it is well known co-ops across the country, rabble.ca, occupy, etc., have engaged in tactics of slander against many activists and journalists alike to discredit those they disagree with or eliminate any rivals within circles. Labeling First Nations radicals like Friesen, as CSIS agents, CIA or Police ‘informants’, racists, and just about anything they can come up with to demonize people. They will repeatedly throw out false claims. The Halifax media co-op is also responsible for putting out incorrect information about Friesen in Rexton.

Meanwhile some supporters of Friesen believe a possibility exists he was the target of a RCMP smear campaign to break up an alliance between the Mi’kmaq warrior society and the Red Power United faction, whose plan was to help prolong the siege of SWN fracking equipment and fortify the encampment.

State law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP have been known to spread disinformation and even tell flat out lies. In 1995, during the Gustafsen Lake Standoff, RCMP officers were caught on video planning mass media smear campaigns against the Native protesters.

To backup the claim that police would participate in burning their own vehicles again, conspiracy theorists found an actual example of the RCMP blowing up an oil installation. In 2000, a Canadian lawyer exposed in court a RCMP-big business conspiracy, when a unit of the RCMP executed a false-flag bombing on an oil site in Alberta. The oil company in question colluded with the Mounties in the staged attack, then blamed it on anti-oilpatch activist Wiebo Ludwig.

In the article Statement on Provocateurs, Informants, and the conflict in New Brunswick in Warrior Publications, Zig Zag, writes, according to those re-posting this old bit of news, if the RCMP would blow up an “oil installation” in northern Alberta, what’s to stop them from torching their own vehicles in New Brunswick?

In New Brunswick, we are told, it was to justify the acts of repression carried out by the RCMP. But those acts of repression were already in motion, long before the police cars were set on fire. In their own statements, the RCMP justify their raid on the basis of alleged threats made to SWN employees, the presence of firearms, and general concerns for public safety.

If police are going to go through the efforts of staging an attack on their own resources, it is only logical they would do this prior to a raid thereby justifying the raid itself.  It is highly unlikely they would instruct an informant to do so after the raid has begun, a raid already justified by “public safety” concerns, etc.

In fact, the burning of the six police vehicles appears to be a response to the raid. But there are those who seek to dampen the fighting spirit of our warriors by implying that any act of militant resistance is a police conspiracy. Some of these people are pacifists, ideologically committed to nonviolent acts, while some are conspiracy theorists who see the hand of the “Illuminati” behind any acts of resistance.

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RCMP vehicles burn in Rexton NB on Oct 17, 2013. Image: subMedia.tv

Documents give new insight 

Earlier in 2014, a provincial court judge granted an RCMP request to have access to videotape and photographs taken by CBC News and four other media organizations during a clash between police and anti-shale gas protesters in Rexton. A production order was granted by Judge Anne Horsman in Moncton provincial court. The documents filed with the court offer new insight into the events of Oct. 17, 2013, and what led up to it.

The names of confidential RCMP informants, those suspected of setting fire to the RCMP’s vehicles (Page 11), and witnesses are also among the information. The redacted documents include photographs taken by the RCMP’s high-altitude surveillance plane that show “two individuals who appeared to be responsible for the lighting of three of the RCMP vehicles on fire, however the three other RCMP vehicles were already burning.”

This still image from video taken by the RCMP's high altitude surveillance plane is the best image police have of the two people allegedly responsible for burning a marked RCMP SUV and an RCMP truck on Oct. 17, 2013. (RCMP surveillance photo)

This still image from video taken by the RCMP’s high altitude surveillance plane is the best image police have of the two people allegedly responsible for burning a marked RCMP SUV and an RCMP truck on Oct. 17, 2013.

Police also said someone attempted to burn down the local RCMP station in the middle of the night after the raid. Although, 2 Mi’kmaq warriors were charged with throwing the Molotov cocktails at police during the protest that turned violent. No charges were laid in connection with the RCMP vehicles being set on fire.

A Public Statement by Harrison Friesen:

I want it to be known that I did not light any police cars on fire in Rexton NB and that I am neither a provocateur nor informant. If anything I’m a hated and targeted by law enforcement agencies just like many indigenous activists who defend our sovereignty are. What occurred on social media, was a result of conspiracy theorists,  which was then fueled by those enemies I made because of past mistakes. I was also personally targeted because of my past involvement with AIM protests and the fact that I am supporter of both the AIM Movement and Leonard Peltier. Although Elsipogtog territory is that of the late Annie Mae Aquash and I did not know this going into that action, it still would not have swayed the decision I made to help the Mi’kmaq people protect their water. I only went to Rexton NB as a direct action trainer and peacekeeper from the Red Power Movement, our presence was requested by the Mi’kmaq people from Elsipogtog to help avoid violence. As for the RCMP cars that were burned that day, my only comment is: “It was a protest and people were pissed off because of police repression, it happens.”

Harrison Friesen standing in front of burning RCMP vehicles in Rexton, NB, Oct 17, 2013

This is what one radical journalist, an eyewitness present during the conflict on Oct 17, stated about the burned cop cars and the theories of who burned them:

“To all the people spreading misinfo about provocateurs at Elsipogtog, listen up. RCMP cars were not burned by provocateurs. It was an expression of rage by an angry crowd sick of being trampled by the government. People put their cameras away as the cars were being lit, as to not incriminate comrades and cheered every time one went up in flames. Hundreds of people witnessed this, so drop all the propaganda and snitch jacketing and raise your glass to all the brave peeps who risked life and limb to protect your fuckin water.” – The Stimulator, Oct 18, 2013.

From Warrior Publications:

“In the past, it was common sense that you did not label a person a police informant without substantial evidence. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Informants and police infiltrators have been exposed in the past based on real evidence, through court transcripts or intercepted communications with their handlers, for example. At this point, Harrison is being made a scapegoat by those pacifists and conspiracy theorists who are either opposed to militant resistance on principle, or who see a government conspiracy behind any spectacular event.”

“So far, we have no evidence that Harrison Friesen is an informant or that any agents provocateurs set the cop cars on fire in New Brunswick. And until such evidence is produced, those circulating unsubstantiated claims should cease doing so.” – Zig Zag, Oct 18, 2013.

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It is well known there are ongoing efforts by law enforcement agencies to infiltrate, disorganize and destroy Indigenous resistance movements ― such as the one led by Friesen, which the State considers a threat.

The police have also been known to create fake social media accounts used to obtain information and interfere with activists activities. As it turns out, a Twitter user who goes by the handle @BigPicGuy, Mark McCaw was the original source who attempted to label Friesen as an agent provocateur.

Despite social media speculation about police provocateurs torching their own cars, an eyewitness said the vandalism was carried out by known anti-fracking warriors from Mi’kmaq territory.

There is no proof that Friesen or any member of Red Power United were responsible for the throwing of molotovs or the burning of the RCMP vehicles in Rexton. To date, not a single piece of evidence has surfaced to justify the allegation.

This blog is a collaborative writing with research done by Red Power Media, Staff, including interviews with eyewitnesses and independent journalist present in Elsipogtog on October 17, 2013. Updated Oct 17, 2016.  

Public Safety omitted explosive RCMP raid on Mi’kmaq anti-fracking camp from monitoring list

(RCMP tactical unit officers crouch in the grass during Oct. 17, 2013, raid on Mi’kmaq Warrior Society anti-fracking camp. APTN/File)

(RCMP tactical unit officers crouch in the grass during Oct. 17, 2013, raid on Mi’kmaq Warrior Society anti-fracking camp. APTN/File)

SEP, 23, 2014, APTN National News

Public Safety Canada omitted last year’s explosive confrontation between police and Mi’kmaq warriors from a list of protests monitored by Ottawa’s national security nerve centre, records show.

The federal department on Sept. 15 released a list of hundreds of protests the Government Operations Centre (GOC) has monitored since 2006 in response to an Order Paper question from Liberal MP Scott Brison. While the list appears exhaustive, it omitted a heavily-armed RCMP raid on a Mi’kmaq Warrior Society-led anti-fracking camp in New Brunswick on Oct. 17, 2013. The raid led to 40 arrests and the torching of several police cars.

The list also omitted clashes between the RCMP, the Mi’kmaq and their Acadian and Anglophone supporters that continued for weeks following the October raid. Demonstrators twice burned tires on a New Brunswick highway in early December 2013.

It took Public Safety officials two workdays to respond to APTN National News’ question on how such a high-profile conflict escaped an appearance on the list.

Public Safety finally responded saying the omission was caused by “human error.”

Documents obtained by APTN National News under the Access to Information Act show the GOC was holding teleconferences with a number of federal departments and enforcement agencies to prepare for the possibility of nation-wide protests in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq following the raid in Rexton, NB. The agency also drew-up a map listing a large number of planned solidarity protests across the country.

Yet, Public Safety’s list of GOC monitored protest jsumps from an Oct. 14, 2013, demonstration in Romania about bees to an Oct. 18 protest on the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan. The list also includes a Dec. 2 entry on shale gas protests across the country, but it doesn’t record any reports to GOC about tire burnings or continued arrests in New Brunswick related to anti-fracking battles.

The GOC is run out of Public Safety and describes itself as “an all-hazards integrated federal emergency response to events (potential or actual hazards, natural or human-induced, either accidental or intentional) of national interest,”

Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett said the omission of the Oct. 17 raid compromises the accuracy of Public Safety’s list.

“This is a glaring omission of a really serious incident,” said Bennett. “I can’t possibly understand how they can leave it out and how we can trust the information they did put out.”

The Canadian military’s counter-intelligence unit was also monitoring the evolving situation in New Brunswick.

Public Safety’s list includes a number of small, localized protests in First Nations communities, but omits Idle No More’s Jan. 11 Day of Action in 2013.

That day, thousands of people converged on Ottawa for a massive protest while Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with a handful of chiefs. Solidarity demonstrations sprang up across the country and around the world the same day. Jan. 11 is seen by many as the high-water for the Idle No More movement.

http://aptn.ca/news/2014/09/23/public-safety-omitted-explosive-rcmp-raid-mikmaq-anti-fracking-camp-monitoring-list/

Emails show federal officials worried about second Idle No More movement

Negotiations between protesters and police in Rexton, N.B., as police began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick on Thursday, Oct.17, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Negotiations between protesters and police in Rexton, N.B., as police began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick on Thursday, Oct.17, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Benjamin Shingler | The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Federal officials closely tracked the fallout of an RCMP raid on a First Nations protest against shale-gas exploration in New Brunswick, at one point raising concerns it could spawn another countrywide movement like Idle No More.

Documents obtained under access-to-information legislation reveal a lengthy email chain last fall monitoring events related to a blockade near Rexton, N.B., about 70 kilometres north of Moncton.

Members of the Elsipogtog First Nation, who were concerned about the environmental impact of shale-gas development, didn’t want energy company SWN Resources to do testing work on their traditional territory.

Police officers enforced an injunction on Oct. 17 to end the blockade of a compound where the company stored exploration equipment.
The early-morning raid led to violent clashes between officers and protesters. By the end of the day, six police cars had been torched and 40 people arrested.

As the situation unfolded, a government official sent an email reporting “growing support of protesters by first nation (sic) communities and other groups across the country.”

“An ‘Idle No More’ like movement of protests is reportedly being planned starting tomorrow,” wrote Alain Paquet, director of operations for Public Safety Canada.

“We will keep you informed through our Situation Reports…”
Those in the email chain included staff within the Privy Council Office, the central bureaucracy which serves the prime minister and cabinet.

The Government Operations Centre, an arm of Public Safety Canada, emailed out daily reports detailing planned protests across the country.

On its website, the centre says it provides an “all-hazards integrated federal emergency response to events.”

A notice emailed later on Oct. 17 gave a rundown of planned protests and whether they posed a threat of violence.

“Other than the events at Rexton, N.B., so far calls are for peaceful action,” the notice said.

“Most of the protest activity to date under the Idle No More banner or related environmental or First Nations issues activities have been peaceful.”

The daily updates were compiled using media reports and information from the RCMP. But much of the information was derived by monitoring social media postings from the protesters themselves.

One update noted that the “creators of Idle No More in Lethbridge, AB, said via Twitter that they wasted no time in getting a group together to march down the city’s main drag Thursday afternoon.”

It also noted reports of “small demonstrations in New York City and Washington, D.C. outside the Canadian missions,” as well as in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Another document outlined the “key messages” for the RCMP when fielding questions about its handling of the New Brunswick blockade, which protesters argued had been heavy-handed.

“Our members demonstrated incredible professionalism as they worked to resolve the situation,” one bullet point in the document said.

“Some in the crowd threw rocks and bottles at them and sprayed them with bear spray. Setting police cars on fire created a dangerous situation for all present and at that point our members were forced to physically confront some in the crowd who refused to obey the law.”

By Sunday, Oct. 20, three days after the arrests, a government update said “the number of protests continues to decline.”

“Less than five are planned for today according to the Idle No More website with one protest planned for Saint John, New Brunswick on Monday,” the email said.

Susan Levi-Peters, one of the protesters and a former chief, said the emails reflect how Ottawa is more focused on trying to control aboriginal people rather come up with solutions.

“Canada has to have a better relationship with First Nations people,” said Levi-Peters, who ran for the NDP in 2011.

“I think Ottawa is misunderstanding First Nations people. And they’re getting more educated. I think Ottawa is in a shock because they don’t know how to treat them anymore.”

The shale-gas protests died down after Texas-based SWN Resources wrapped up its exploration work and left the province in December.

Last month, two men involved in the events of Oct. 17 were sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Germain Breau, a 21-year-old of the Elsipogtog First Nation, was found guilty of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and four counts of pointing a firearm.

Aaron Francis, a 20-year-old of the Eskasoni First Nation, was convicted of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Both men were also given two years probation following their jail time.

An email to Public Safety Canada asking whether it is standard procedure to closely track social media, media and RCMP reports drew the following response: “The GOC provides strategic-level coordination on behalf of the Government of Canada in response to an emerging or occurring event affecting the national interest.”