BREAKING: Militarized Police Raid Wet’suwet’en First Nation

BREAKING: Militarized Police Raid Wet’suwet’en First Nation

February 7th updates from Unist’ot’enCamp and Gidimten:

The RCMP raid continues today as militarized, heavily-armed police backed up with K9 dogs, heavy equipment, and helicopters move further into Unist’ot’en territory. As we write this federal police are currently raiding the Gidimt’en checkpoint at 44km.

6:15pm: We are hearing that 30 RCMP are surrounding #Wetsuwetsuweten Hereditary Chiefs and supporters at 27KM who have blocked the road. Among them, Dini’ze Smogelgem, Dini’ze Dsta’hyl, and Tsake’ze Sleydo’.

Everything is quiet at @Gidimten checkpoint. Those in the cabin no longer see or hear police. It seems like the majority of the force has headed out and at least 15 RCMP have headed to 27km. The tower is still standing. The road is still blocked.

Denzel Sutherland-Wilson from the Gitxsan nation was arrested and removed from @Gidimten tower earlier today. Only those in Chief Woos’ cabin remain. The Gitxsan are the oldest allies of the #Wetsuweten.

3:45pm: #RCMP are now blocked in on the forest service road at the 27km mark after people parked several vehicles sideways — preventing vehicles from passing (this is the route out to Houston) #Wetsuweten. RCMP visibly frustrated at this additional barrier.
3:15pm: Anne Spice has been taken down from the tower. One person remains on top of the tower. Legal observers, @GitxsanJt, and a documentary filmmaker are still on site but far away.

2:30pm: RCMP are now using ladders to move up the wooden tower overlooking the territory. RCMP have said that the people on the tower are already under arrest and they are just trying to get them down. RCMP won’t specify what the charges are or why the people in the tower are under arrest.

2pm: The US-Canada border crossing in Mohawk territory was shut down by protests.

1:55pm: Eve Saint, the daughter of @Gidimten Chief Woos, has been arrested along with one other. They were removed from the bus blocking the road. They have been walked out by RCMP. They are not hurt.

12:55pm: The metal gate at @Gidimten is down. Legal observer is trying to get RCMP badge numbers and police names but RCMP won’t respond. Some RCMP are wearing masks to cover their faces.

12:45pm: RCMP are trying to limit the visibility of the tactical team to media by surrounding a bus containing media. RCMP “have one person stationed on the other side of the flipped van. They’re the one doing the lethal overwatch. They’ve got a gun pointed at us, underneath the warrior flag,” we’ve just heard.

12:30pm: Those at @Gidimten just said the teams dropped off by the helicopters included K9 units – so they are surrounded by snipers and police dogs.

6:30 am: RCMP militarized convoy engines are running and lining up in Houston now. Their extremist force is hardly a peaceful action against our unarmed, peaceful protestors. Shame!!! – Gidimt’en Checkpoint


February 6th updates:

6:45 pm: All six people who were arrested in Gidimt’en territories this morning are being released with no charges. Three are out already.

4:44pm: Chiefs & supporters blocked the road at 27km, forcing RCMP to let Wet’suwet’en chiefs in. Clearing work has stopped at 44km. Dsta’hyl (Likht’samisyu) said the #Wetsuweten will enforce the eviction of Coastal Gaslink, with any means at their disposal.

4pm: Solidarity actions are taking place across Canada. A blockade has shut down the Port of Vancouver. Various politicians offices have been occupied. Indigenous youth are locked down at the B.C. Legislature.

2:40pm Pacific Time: People at the Gidimt’en Access Point (44 km; the site of the armed police raid in January 2019) are now confirming that they see heavy machinery approaching.

Militarized, heavily armed police units known as “tactical enforcement teams,” supported by K9 dogs and infrared camera-equipped drones, have this morning raided the Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory in central British Columbia, Canada to remove indigenous occupation aimed at preventing construction of a fracked-gas pipeline.

Between four and six people have been arrested at the blockade setup at 39KM on the Morice River Road, 27 km from the main Unist’ot’en Camp. Journalists on-site were threatened with arrest, prevented from photographing the events (including police smashing the window on a truck), and forcefully removed from the area. This is the second militarized raid on the peaceful indigenous resistance camp. The previous raid, in January 2019, was later revealed to have included “lethal overwatch”—authorization to shoot to kill. In both raids, police carried sniper and assault rifles.

map of wet'suwet'en territory - police raid Wet'suwet'en territory

The police raid Wet’suwet’en checkpoint shows they are acting as private contractors for the gas company, facilitating the plunder of stolen indigenous land and destruction of the planet for private profit.

Coastal GasLink/TC Energy is pushing through a 670-kilometer fracked gas pipeline that would carry fracked gas from Dawson Creek, B.C. to the coastal town of Kitimat, where LNG Canada’s processing plant would be located. LNG Canada is the single largest private investment in Canadian history.

Each clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation has full jurisdiction under their law to control access to their territory. Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and have not provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal Gaslink/ TransCanada to do work on Wet’suwet’en lands.

This is a developing story and we will share more information as it comes.

How to Support

Call to Action — Blockade the Colonial Institutions

Indigenous youth in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation are calling for organized, rolling occupations of MLA and MP offices, and of financial institutions tied to Coastal Gaslink pipeline corporation.

To participate, email youthforyintah@protonmail.com

Image of Unist'ot'en bridge - sign reads no to all pipelines

Timeline of This Morning’s Events — Police raid Wet’suwet’en Checkpoint near Unist’ot’en camp

via Unist’ot’en Camp

  • 7:48 am: RCMP are transporting the 4 arrested supporters to Houston. BC. Everyone at 39KM was arrested except media. Media that were at 39km are being driven out in a police van.
  • 7:22am: 36 vehicles, 1 ambulance and heavy machinery went up from 4 KM. At least 2 bulldozers and excavator.
  • 6:59 am: We have reports RCMP have headed up from town in an approximately 20+ vehicle convoy. #Wetsuweten #WetsuwetenStrong
  • 6:43am: We have reports that RCMP are now blocking the forest service road at 4KM.
  • 6:22am: We have lost all communication with the Gidimt’en watch post at 39KM after RCMP smashed the window of the radio vehicle. It’s still pitch black out.
  • 6am: We have just heard that RCMP denied access to a reporter headed out to the camps this morning. Media exclusion zone is in full effect.
  • 5:56am – The person on radio at 39km reports RCMP have broken in the windows of their vehicle.
  • 5:43am – We estimate more than a dozen cops on site, with six cops surrounding the person communicating updates over radio.
  • 5:30am – We’re hearing reports from the front line that some RCMP had their guns out – not pointed at people – but guns in hand.
  • We’re told that even with more than a dozen vehicles out on the territory, the Houston community hall is still full of cops waiting to invade our lands.
  • 5:05am – We’ve heard 13 RCMP vehicles headed up the road earlier this morning. Up to 4 arrests have been made now, and RCMP are taking down tents. Our understanding is these tents were NOT blocking the road and are not part of the injunction area.
  • 4:55am – It’s not yet 5am – still totally dark out – and we’ve just heard RCMP made their first arrest at the #Wetsuweten monitoring post at 39KM. Cops are surrounding people there and beginning to clear the road to the Gidimt’en checkpoint.

police raid wet'suwet'en near unist'ot'en camp - banner reads no pipelines

Deep Green Resistance delegation to Unist’ot’en Camp – 2012

BREAKING: DAPL Eco-Saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya Have Been Arrested and Charged in Federal Court

BREAKING: DAPL Eco-Saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya Have Been Arrested and Charged in Federal Court

Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) eco-saboteurs Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya have been arrested and charged with multiple felonies.

They face up to 100 years or more in prison. Their next hearing is currently scheduled for December 2, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger in Des Moines, Iowa.

Statement of Support from Deep Green Resistance

Deep Green Resistance officially stands in solidarity and full support of the actions taken by Jessica and Ruby.

We expect they will find no justice in the colonial courts of an imperialist state, in a city founded as a military fort to oversee the destruction of local indigenous inhabitants and facilitate the settler-colonial invasion project, but the struggle does not end with incarceration. Revolution is bigger than any individual, and we struggle in solidarity with comrades locked in cages.

In an era of mass extinction, climate chaos, and ecological collapse, an era in which mainstream environmentalism has failed to even partially reverse these problems, militant action against industrial infrastructure such as pipelines is, without any question, justified.

In fact, militant resistance is a moral and physical obligation—a matter of planetary self-defense.

How to Support Jessica and Ruby

We invite you to join us in pledging our full support to their legal defense and to work in solidarity outside the courtroom. We are currently gathering more information about their legal situation. Pending information, we are now taking donations  for their legal defense and expenses.

To donate, click here and follow the instructions. Be sure to earmark your donation (using the “comment” field or memo of a check, etc.) for Jessica and Ruby legal defense.

For more updates on this case, visit this site regularly, or subscribe.

Their Actions: Eco-Sabotage Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Between July 2016 and May 2017, Jessica and Ruby are believed to have committed at least 10 acts of eco-sabotage against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) using oxy-acetylene torches and improved incendiaries.

These attacks delayed pipeline construction by several months. In terms of material effectiveness vs. resources invested, their ecosabotage was roughly 1000 times as efficient as the aboveground fight at Standing Rock.

We say this not to disparage aboveground resistance, but to highlight the efficacy of militant underground struggle. Two people with a tiny budget were highly effective at fighting this project

Comparison of material effectiveness and efficiency of various pipeline resistance techniques. Image via “Pipeline Activism and Principles of Strategy.” Click the image for the source.

Interview with Jessica and Ruby

In July 2017, two days after Jessica and Ruby publicly admitted to carrying out the eco-sabotage campaign, Deep Green Resistance interviewed the two women. You can listen to that interview here:

 

The Charges They Are Facing

Press release from the U.S. Department of [In]Justice, Southern District of Iowa:

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa – On September 19, 2019, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging defendants, Jessica Rae Reznicek and Ruby Katherine Montoya, with one count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility, four counts of use of fire in the commission of a felony, and four counts of malicious use of fire, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Montoya was recently arrested in the District of Arizona and detained pending court proceedings to determine her appearance in the Southern District of Iowa. Reznicek appeared in Des Moines on October 1, 2019 and was conditionally released pending trial. Trial is currently scheduled for December 2, 2019, before United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger.

According to Count 1 of the Indictment, from at least as early as 2016 and continuing in 2017, in the Southern District of Iowa and elsewhere, Reznicek and Montoya conspired to knowingly and willfully damage and attempt to damage the property of an energy facility involved in the transmission and distribution of fuel, or another form or source of energy, in an amount exceeding or which would have exceeded $100,000, and to cause a significant interruption and impairment of a function of an energy facility.

Counts 2 through 9 of the Indictment allege specific instances of damage or attempts to damage portions of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the Southern District of Iowa by Reznicek and Montoya on various dates in 2017.

The public is reminded that an Indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless they are proven guilty.

If they are convicted of Count 1, conspiracy to damage an energy facility, Reznicek and Montoya face up to 20 years imprisonment, not more than a $250,000 fine, or both such fine and imprisonment.

If they are convicted of Counts 2, 4, 6 and/or 8, use of fire in the commission of a felony, Reznicek and Montoya face a mandatory minimum 10 years imprisonment to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on Count 1. For each second or subsequent conviction of Counts 2, 4, 6 and/or 8, Reznicek and Montoya face a mandatory minimum 20 years imprisonment to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on Count 1.

If they are convicted of Counts 3, 5, 7 and/or 9, malicious use of fire, Reznicek and Montoya face a mandatory minimum 5 years imprisonment and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, not more than a $250,000 fine, or both such fine and
imprisonment.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Featured image: Tony Webster, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International 

Resistance Profile: Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta (MEND)

Resistance Profile: Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta (MEND)

Editors note: this material is excerpted from a Deep Green Resistance  database called “Resistance Profiles,” which explores various movements, their strategies and tactics, and their effectiveness. Image credit: public domain.

Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta (MEND)

  • Active: 2005 – 2013
  • Location: Nigeria
  • Type: Underground Resistance Movement
  • Success: Medium

Goal

Majority or total control of oil production/revenues in the Niger Delta (for the Ogoni people) and withdrawal of the Nigerian military from the Niger Delta.

Strategy

Totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil in the Niger Delta, force the multinational oil companies to discontinue operations, and likely precipitate a nationwide budgetary and economic crisis.

Tactics

  • sabotage of oil infrastructure
  • bombing near military, government or oil industry infrastructure or buildings
  • theft
  • guerrilla warfare
  • kidnapping of foreign oil workers for ransom (MEND has a very good record of returning them unharmed)

MEND uses speed boats in swarm-based maneuvers to quickly attack targets in succession. Multiple highly maneuverable, well trained and armed units have kept the government and Shell’s defensive systems off-balance defending their sprawling networks (1,000 oil wells, 6,000 km of pipeline over 70,000 square miles).

Very effective use of system disruption: targets have been systematically and accurately selected to completely shut down production and delay and/or halt repairs.

Organization

MEND, an umbrella organization, has evolved into a conglomeration of distinct militant groups with constantly shifting alliances and loyalties. Command and control is believed to be hierarchical. Leaders are frequently deposed or replaced by rivals, due to internal conflicts over proceeds from criminal and political activities, and due to Ijaw tradition of choosing tribal leaders on a rotational basis

Above/Underground

Underground cells with a few spokesmen that communicate with the international media

Security

Leaders are always on the move and extremely cautious. They do not take telephone calls personally, knowing that soldiers hunting for them have electronic devices capable of pinpointing mobile phone signals. During raids, fighters wear masks to protect their identity. All communication with the media is conducted using aliases. MEND does not reveal identities of its rank and file and conducts all recruiting clandestinely. The fluid and contradictory organization structure may or may not be by design but is very effective at obscuring the leadership and increasing the operational security of key individuals

Recruitment

Draws its fighters from communities across the delta: ethnic militias in the west and from cults (criminal gangs) in the east

Effectiveness

Has not yet achieved its goal, but its strategy and tactics have been effective, resulting in a cut of more than 28 percent of Nigeria’s oil output from 2006 to 2009. In August 2009, the government offered a 60 day amnesty: militants who handed in their weapons were pardoned for their crimes, given job training and were paid US $410 per month until they found work. But the ceasefire and amnesty ended in December when MEND attacked a Shell/Chevron pipeline amidst questions about President Yar’ Adua’s health and impatience with the slow pace of job growth.

Further learning

Articles

Swarm: A Roving Caravan Strategy for Crushing Snakes and Other Capitalist Parasites

Swarm: A Roving Caravan Strategy for Crushing Snakes and Other Capitalist Parasites

Editor’s Note: This zine is an excellent read, and we encourage you to study it thoroughly. However, we’d also like to point out that the fossil fuel industry is not dying—it’s unfortunately very robust and growing. We say this only because our strategies must be based on realism, and our realism leads us past non-violent direct action to Decisive Ecological Warfare.


Intro to Swarm

The Earth is gasping for air and so are all the living beings on her. The tightest knots around our throats are black snakes, the pipe-lines that pulse out of the oil fields in Alberta carrying climate-killing carbon across land and water. The fights against these pipelines em-body a series of battles in the war for the future of life on this planet: The Tar Sands Blockade. Standing Rock. Unis’tot’en Camp. L’eau Est La Vie Camp. These are places we have made our stands against annihilation. But the battle goes beyond these camps. This is a fight for every one of our futures, and defeat is not an option.

Through hard fought struggle, we have forged and sharpened our tactics in order to adapt and win. This zine has been written and edited by a number of frontline veterans in the climate struggle, hoping to address new concepts around how we fight those who would drive us to extinction. Specifically, we wish to introduce the concept of swarming and the strategy of roving caravans, using the Mississippi Stand campaign as a case study.

Swarm tactics are the use of autonomously-acting cells on the battlefield, acting in coordination without a centralized or hierarchical command structure. This way of carrying out actions mimics swarms in nature, such as bees or piranhas. Humans have used swarm tactics for thousands of years, especially for guerrilla and insurgent forces facing better-funded occupying forces.

The mobile caravan tactic takes the analysis of the pipeline fight as an asymmetric, “guerrilla” struggle against an occupying force to its logical next step. Rather than relying solely on stationary camps set up to block a pipeline, the mobile caravan approach relies on disrupting production up and down the pipeline, stretching police and security forces thin and maximizing disruption.

We aim to bring these ideas into the consciousness of the broader movement for discussion, debate, and subsequent application in the field. This zine has been written in the context of the brewing Line 3 struggle across Ojibwe and Dakota lands and the watersheds of northern Minnesota. However, we believe that the lessons we explore here and the experiences we gain through struggle will find relevance well beyond this particular pipeline fight. We believe that if adopted, these tactics can significantly increase the effectiveness of our struggles against fossil fuel infrastructure.

Read the full zine here: https://conflictmnfiles.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/409/2019/04/Swarm-READ.pdf

Unist’ot’en Camp, Facing Armed Invasion By Pipeline Cops, Complies with Injunction

Unist’ot’en Camp, Facing Armed Invasion By Pipeline Cops, Complies with Injunction

On Monday, January 7th, Canadian federal police raided the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory on unceded indigenous land in what is commonly known as British Columbia, Canada.

The Access Point is the forward position of a pipeline occupation held primarily by the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The Unist’ot’en have been occupying this part of their territory for nine years to block numerous oil and gas pipelines from destroying their territory.

On Wednesday afternoon, the RCMP lifted the roadblock and exclusion zone that had been in place since Monday morning. Several RCMP negotiators, as well as hereditary chiefs, passed through the barrier on the bridge over the Wedzin Kwah and are currently engaged in negotiations inside the healing center.

The latest reports confirm that the Unist’ot’en will comply with the injunction and allow some Coastal Gaslink employees onto the territory. It remains to be seen what form the struggle will take.

Fourteen land defenders were arrested on Monday including spokesperson Molly Wickham. She describes what happened in this video. All of the arrestees have been released as of 3pm Wednesday. You can donate to the legal support fund here.

 

Molly Wickham, Gitdimt’en spokesperson provides a detailed account of the police raid and arrests.

Media may use clips from this video ensuring context is maintained. Thank you all for your ongoing coverage.

Posted by Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The RCMP attack is also described in this StarMetro Vancouver article:

After a lengthy, increasingly heated back-and-forth between the demonstrators and police, officers began cutting the barbed wire and started up a chainsaw. Camp members began to scream in protest; two young men had chained themselves to the fence below the view of the officers, encasing their arms in a kind of pipe that meant opening the gate risked breaking both of their arms… [the] checkpoint camp was abandoned behind a massive fallen tree and a barrier of flame on Monday afternoon as dozens of RCMP officers finally pushed past the barricade set up to bar entry to the traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en people.

The Gidumt’en and Unist’ot’en are two of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en Nation. The traditional leadership of all five clans oppose the pipeline. However, the elected band council (a colonial leadership structure set up by the Canadian state) voted in favor of the pipeline.

More than 60 solidarity events took place across Canada and the world this week. Using the hashtag #ShutdownCanada, blockades have stopped major intersections, financial districts, bridges, and ports in Vancouver, Ottowa, Toronto, Victoria, Montreal, and elsewhere.

This situation has a long background and highly significant legal significance. Kai Nagata describes the situation:

Many Canadians have heard of the 1997 Delgamuukw decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, which recognized that Aboriginal title still exists in places where Indigenous nations have never signed a treaty with the Crown. In fact, the court was talking about the land where tonight’s raid is taking place.

Delgamuukw is a chief’s name in the neighbouring Gitxsan Nation, passed down through the generations. Delgamuukw was one of dozens of plaintiffs in the case, comprising hereditary chiefs from both the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations.

Together those leaders achieved an extraordinary milestone in forcing the Canadian courts to affirm the legitimacy of their oral histories, traditional laws and continuing governance of their lands. But it wasn’t until the Tsilhqot’in decision in 2014 that the Supreme Court went a step further, recognizing Aboriginal title over a specific piece of land.

If the Wet’suwet’en chiefs went back to court all these years later, many legal scholars say the strength of their claim to their territories would eventually force the Canadian government to relinquish thousands of square kilometres within the Bulkley and Skeena watersheds – and stop calling it “Crown land”.

That’s why the TransCanada pipeline company acted quickly, to secure an injunction against Wet’suwet’en members blocking construction before the legal ground could shift under their Coastal Gaslink project.

The 670-kilometre pipeline project would link the fracking fields of Northeastern B.C. with a huge liquid gas export terminal proposed for Kitimat. Called LNG Canada, this project is made up of oil and gas companies from China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia, along with Royal Dutch Shell.

The BC Liberal, BC NDP and federal governments all courted the LNG Canada project, offering tax breaks, cheap electricity, tariff exemptions and other incentives to convince the consortium to build in B.C. Both Christy Clark and Premier John Horgan celebrated LNG Canada’s final investment decision last fall, calling it a big win for the province.

However, without a four foot diameter (122cm) pipeline feeding fracked gas to the marine terminal, the LNG Canada project is a non-starter.

That brings us back to the Morice River, or Wedzin Kwa in the Wet’suwet’en language. This is where the rubber hits the road for “reconciliation”. Politicians are fond of using the word, but seemingly uncomfortable with its implications.

Politicians also talk a lot about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and how to enshrine it in B.C. law. Article 10 of UNDRIP states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories.” It is hard to see how tonight’s arrests are consistent with this basic right.

Pro-pipeline pundits are already working hard to spin this raid as the “rule of law” being asserted over the objections of “protestors”. They point to benefit agreements signed between TransCanada and many band governments along the pipeline route.

But under the Indian Act, elected councillors only have jurisdiction over reserve lands – the tiny parcels set aside for First Nations communities that are administered much like municipalities. That’s not where this pipeline would go.

What is at stake in the larger battle over Indigenous rights and title are the vast territories claimed by the Crown but never paid for, conquered or acquired by treaty. In Wet’suwet’en territory, those lands, lakes and rivers are stewarded by the hereditary chiefs under a governance system that predates the founding of Canada.