May 14, 2007
Scary video threatens Canadian railway lines
By JORGE BARRERA, National Bureau
OTTAWA — An Internet how-to video on sabotaging railway lines in support of Native land claims has drawn the attention of the RCMP and triggered investigations by the country’s two main rail companies.
The video, posted Sunday on YouTube, illustrates how a single wire can trigger full-stop red light signals on the lines.
Experts say the tactic works and could have a serious impact on the economy by throwing train schedules into chaos if it doesn’t cause derailment. Train conductors are directed to stop immediately if faced with the signal.
Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway said their police divisions had launched investigations to track down the source of the video. The companies would not say whether they have had any recent phantom signal light incidents.
CN and Transport Canada asked YouTube to pull the video, which was created by a group dubbing themselves “The Railway Ties Collective.”
The video was still up at 7 p.m. yesterday and had been viewed 176 times.
“This is extremely dangerous behaviour,” said CN spokesman Mark Hallman.
CN and CP said they discovered the video through their own monitoring processes.
An RCMP spokesman linked the video to the planned June 29 national Native day of action spearheaded by the Assembly of First Nations.
“We want to make sure that these demonstrations are done as least disruptive as possible,” said Sgt. Nathalie Deschense.
Native leaders have warned of possible violence this summer stemming from frustration over land claims and perceived government disregard for persistent high levels of First Nations poverty.
The video opens by referring to “more than 800” unresolved land claims, recent rail blockades by members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation and the Six Nations reclamation of a 40-hectare residential development in Caledonia.
“The Mohawks have shown the vulnerability of a major trade corridor for people and material. While few other communities could hold off a frontal assault by the OPP, there are other ways to close the rail lines,” says the text heavy video as an eerie piano soundtrack plays in the background. “When justice fails, stop the rails.”
As the text fades and a rougher electronic beat emerges, the video moves to a pair of gloved hands illuminated in the night by the light of a video camera. After the procedure, the camera pans to the sudden flash of six lights on the tracks. “Time to go!” the video says.
Joe Bracken, president of the Canadian Heartland Training Railway in Alberta, said if the tactic is employed on a large scale, it could cause serious damage to the nation’s rail industry.
“They go through hundreds of Native territories,” said Bracken.
There are more than 800 native land claims pending in Canada. The time it will take to resolve these is expected to be more than 200 years. Creating the political will for just and timely resolution will take your help. Real solidarity means shouldering some of the burden of struggle. At a time when money is more powerful than justice, governments need financial (dis)incentives to live up to their own laws.
We hope to promote the means and inspiration for effective, non-violent pressure on provincial and federal governments to act on First Nations land claims.
Twice in one year, in April of 2006 and 2007, community members from the Bay of Quinte Mohawks shut down the rail lines passing through their territory of Tyendinaga. The first time was in response to the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) attack on the Six Nations reclamation site near Caledonia, Ontario. The second time was in response to the provincial refusal to revoke the operating permit for a private non-native gravel quarry on land that the federal government acknowledges belongs to the Mohawks. The Mohawks have shown the vulnerability of a major trade corridor for people and material. While few other communities could hold off a frontal assault by the OPP, there are other ways to close the rail lines.
A simple piece of copper wire, for example 8 feet of uninsulated stranded 3AWG ground wire (wiring for main service panels in a house, or science experiments) can stop thousands of tonnes of train traffic. The wire, laid across the tracks will mimic a blockage and trigger the electronic sensors telling the trains to stop. Covering the wire between the tracks will make it more difficult to detect. Consider some discreet non-traceable way of expressing your solidarity with indigenous struggles at the wire's location. By halting the freight and passenger rail service, we who support indigenous struggles for dignity and fairness will show governments that indigenous people in Canada are not alone.
When justice fails, stop the rails.
-brought to you by the railway ties collective-
CN is suing the Mohawks at Tyendinaga. See this http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070509/cn_lawsuit_070509/20070509?hub=TopStories