Mi’kmaq community on edge over hit-and-run death of Brady Francis

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

Elsipogtog First Nation seeks justice for Brady Francis killed Saturday in Saint-Charles

A grieving New Brunswick First Nation is anxiously awaiting the results of a police probe into the hit-and-run death of a popular young man, with many saying they are seeking a justice they felt was eluded in the killings of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.

Brady Francis, 22, was hit by a pickup truck Saturday as he departed a party in Saint-Charles, a predominantly francophone town about 12 kilometres south of the Elsipogtog reserve.

Social media posts were circulating Wednesday with pictures of Fontaine, Boushie and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent jury verdicts on the Prairies.

“I’m just saying that I hope history doesn’t repeat itself,” Garnett Augustine, Francis’s employer, said Wednesday.

Ruth Levi, a band councillor and the director of social services in Elsipogtog, said in an interview that the Mi’kmaq community is calling for charges in the death.

“We’re hurting, we left a very fine, wonderful young man. Our youth are hurting, the whole community is,” said the 57-year-old community leader in a telephone interview.

“We’re keeping an eye out for the results of the police investigation.”

She said community members attended a fundraiser Monday evening at CC’s Entertainment Centre on the reserve to raise over $31,000 for funeral expenses for the young man’s funeral.

Many people will be wearing white T-shirts with the logo “Justice For Brady,” at a funeral planned for Saturday, she added.

Levi was among the community members who drove to the scene on Saturday night in Saint-Charles.

Word rapidly spread that a GMC pickup truck had struck Francis as he walked away from an evening gathering.

Levi said family members have informed her that Francis had called his father, asking for a drive home and that the young man was awaiting the arrival of his relatives to bring him home.

Augustine, Francis’s employer at the entertainment centre, said he rushed to the scene after the incident, and witnessed paramedics trying to revive the young man he referred to as “my little right-hand man.”

Like Levi, Augustine said community members are deeply concerned by the death, and are eager to know precisely what occurred.

“I’m hoping for justice,” he said, adding that the recent not guilty verdicts in the 2016 death of Boushie in Saskatchewan and the 2014 death of Fontaine in Winnipeg are on the minds of many in the First Nation community.

“It’s hard. The whole community is shattered,” he said.

A memorial for Brady Francis, 22,. Morganne Campbell/ Global News

Said one Twitter user: “All we can do is pray that Canada gets this one right.”

Only scant details have been made available so far about what occurred.

Police said in a news release on Tuesday that Francis was “a pedestrian” in Saint-Charles, N.B., on the evening when he was struck.

RCMP initially said they found a GMC truck sign at the scene, and have since seized a truck as part of the investigation.

The Mounties also said in a news release they are analyzing a key piece of evidence and have been conducting interviews.

Still, emotions have been running high, said Levi.

She said she and about 40 other community residents went to the house of the alleged driver of the truck on the morning after the incident.

Francis’s grandfather urged the crowd to disperse, and Levi helped to arrange a candlelight vigil on the reserve.

“We’re preparing for Saturday’s funeral … Brady’s body will be home tomorrow and we’ll get the crisis team ready,” she said.

“This young man took the appropriate steps to come home. He called his parents … and while he’s talking to his Dad, all of a sudden the phone goes dead. That’s something we don’t want people to forget,” she said.

— Story by Michael Tutton in Halifax.

The Canadian Press 

[SOURCE]

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.”

SWN Canada granted one-year extension to search for shale gas in N.B.

Protesters cheer after trucks owned by SWN Resources leave the scene of shale gas protests near Laketon, N.B. on Nov. 14, 2013. Brion Robinson/Global News

Protesters cheer after trucks owned by SWN Resources leave the scene of shale gas protests near Laketon, N.B. on Nov. 14, 2013. Brion Robinson/Global News

By Red Power Media Staff

New Brunswick’s Department of Energy and Mines has granted SWN Canada a one-year extension to search for shale gas.

The company’s licenses were set to expire, but SWN Resources was granted permission to extend their search.

The extension went into effect Monday.

“While a licence to search gives the holder rights to the area in question, it is subject to government’s proposed moratorium on hydraulic fracturing,” said New Brunswick’s Energy Minister, Donald Arseneault.

SWN Resources applied for a six year extension on their exploration licences. But because SWN has a licence and not a lease, it is only eligible for extensions of one year at a time.

The government says this move shows that it is still committed to the industry, with what it calls a safe and sustainable approach.

The opposition says these license extensions would’ve been worth $47 million based on what it says SWN was willing to invest.

“They’re giving them a one year, no cost, no conditions license to a company that is now gone and taking private investment, capital, and job creation,” says New Brunswick PC MLA Jake Stewart.

As far as the industry goes, shale gas supporters say a one-year extension is an empty development.

“SWN signed those original licenses in 2009 and for five years not a single well was drilled,” says Stewart.

Shale gas proponents say they’re not surprised licenses have been extended.

The Chamber has an energy summit organized in June, where they’re aiming to educate the public on potential energy projects.

Public meeting held for investigation into RCMP response to Rexton protests

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 | February 7, 2015

FORD’S MILLS N.B.- New Brunswick residents are learning more about an investigation into RCMP conduct during the 2013 shale gas protests through a serious of public meetings.

The meetings are being hosted by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, which is heading the investigation into the federal police force.

Rosemary Morgan is an analyst with the commission and says the meetings are designed to help people understand the investigative process.

“We’re hoping we can answer questions from the public so they understand what it is we’re doing,” she said. “We are a separate entity from the RCMP and we are investigating the RCMP because there were public complaints.”

The allegations against the police include the use of aggressive force and improper arrests and detention.

More than a dozen complaints were filed against the RCMP. In addition, a public group complaint in the form of a petition with 245 names was also filed.

The commission’s chair has since launched his own complaint to investigate all aspects of the of the RCMP response.

Pamela Ross, one of the protesters who opposed shale gas exploration in Kent County, said people need answers.

“There were just so many questions and so many bad situations and instances that really didn’t need to happen and it really damaged the relationship between the RCMP and the local communities,” she said.

Ross said people want to know why a generally peaceful protest in Rexton got violent very quickly on Oct. 17, 2013.

Protesters had been blocking shale gas exploration trucks from leaving a secure site and had been in place for weeks until police moved in on Oct. 17 to break up the blockade.

The action resulted in a riot where police cars were destroyed, weapons were seized and many people were arrested.

“We need to find out exactly what happened during the whole protest movement with the RCMP and their actions and the way things turned out in Rexton in October,” Ross said.

Denise Melanson also attended Sunday’s public meeting. She said people need to know these complaints are taken seriously.

“I think it would be really useful for people and myself to know how seriously these kinds of complaints are taken,” she said.

“Answer back, brother”

Christopher Metallic, 20, was last seen leaving a house party on Nov. 25, 2012. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Christopher Metallic, 20, was last seen leaving a house party on Nov. 25, 2012. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

CBC/Radio | February 05, 2015

Two years ago, Chris Metallic vanished. His mother and younger brother struggle from a place between hope and grief. 

For the past two years, Spencer Isaac has been writing letters to his big brother Chris.  He never hears back.  He doesn’t really expect he ever will.

Spencer

Spencer Isaac (Vanessa Blanch)

Spencer and Chris grew up 4 hours north of Sackville, New Brunswick, on the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Quebec. They were both students at Mount Allison University.

On a cold November night in 2012, Chris Metallic left a party in the small university town of Sackville New Brunswick – and vanished.  Chris was 20 years old and in his third year of university. Spencer was 18 – and just getting used to life away from home.

There are still missing person signs up on telephone poles inSackville. The smiling face, a plea for information, the promise of a 5,000 dollar reward.  In local coffee shops and living rooms, Chris Metallic’s disappearance has been discussed a million times over,

Mandy Metallic

Spencer and Chris’s mother, Mandy Metallic (Vanessa Blanch)

For Spencer and his mother, Mandy Metallic, it has been two years of hell, trying to grieve and hope at the same time. Through it all, Mandy keeps searching. And Spencer has been writing those letters.

At the end of every one, a request: “Answer back, brother”.

Our documentary is produced by Vanessa Blanch.

 

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.

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.

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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.  

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.”